clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wingin’ It: Leftover jambalaya pays tribute to New Orleans

You’re tired from cooking for four days straight, so we’re doing a toss-in-the-pot recipe

You like football. You like food. So do we! So much so, in fact, that we smash the two together to bring you a Buffalo Bills-inspired recipe each week. Whether it’s a take on an opponents’ fave or some real mad scientist **** coming your way, Wingin’ It is the spot to watch. This week we’re prepping for the already past the New Orleans Saints but drawing inspiration from them anyway!

Wingin it jambalaya

It’s our first POST-game Wingin’ It! I could have gone the route I did last time the Bills played on Thanksgiving and Buffaloed a classic side or something. But that’s a lot to ask of you to break traditions. Instead, let’s go the “we’re all tired and want something to just toss together” route. Jambalaya is perfect and a way to use some of your Thanksgiving leftovers in a way that even the most “sick-of-turkey-already” person will enjoy. Many of the ingredients are vague as they’re items you might have varying amounts of left. Just use what feels right and everything will be fine. There might be a couple items you want to go out and grab, but substitutions for a lot here should be fine (see prep notes and tips).

Turkey and Sausage Jambalaya with Buffalo Gravy

Serves: 6-10
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 6 hours or so


28 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 cups turkey broth
12 oz. sausage (andouille or smoked preferred)
Leftover turkey
Bell pepper(s)
1 tsp garlic
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
Salt to taste
Oregano, Thyme, Paprika to taste
2 Cups uncooked rice

Leftover gravy
2 Tbsp hot sauce per cup of gravy
1⁄4 tsp thyme per cup of gravy

You’ll need: Slow cooker

  1. Add tomatoes and broth to slow cooker; turn to HIGH.
  2. Cut sausage into discs/chunks and add to slow cooker; add turkey.
  3. Chop onion, celery, and bell pepper (quickly, this is supposed to be easy); add to cooker.
  4. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Cajun seasoning to pot; stir. Let simmer about 4 hours.
  5. Add salt and spices to adjust flavor. (Shoot for a little more flavor intensity than you want the final product to have to account for the rice.)
  6. Stir in rice; stir and check every 15-20 min until rice is thoroughly cooked. Turn to lowest setting to keep warm.
  7. Add gravy, hot sauce, and thyme to sauce pan on MED/HIGH; mix and heat until warm.
  8. Serve jambalaya with gravy

Wingin’ It Tips and Prep Gallery

No helpful gallery this week as I don’t think you’ll need it and I too wanted a simplified cooking experience. I’ll list some substitutions for things you might not have after a Thanksgiving meal and also do a quick run down of how to make homemade gravy. The gravy might be a little late for many of you since you’ll need the turkey drippings, but if you have extra broth you’re good to go.


  • If you don’t have crushed canned tomatoes then pretty much any tomato product should work (diced, stewed, puree, etc.). You can also just toss in some tomatoes.
  • I knew I was doing jambalaya so I bought andouille sausage. Most sausage types will work, but smoked is better. Kielbasa is a good substitute. Jambalaya can also mix and match proteins so feel free to be creative.
  • If you don’t have Cajun seasoning, things you might have on hand can be used instead. Onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper or hot sauce can be substituted. Thyme, oregano, and paprika will likely need to be added in larger quantities as well.
  • If you don’t have turkey broth you can use another type. You could even get away with some thinner soups if you have it. If you have none of the above, water should work to cook the rice, but you might end up needing to spice it up or add more salt to compensate.

Making gravy:

If you’ve never done it, it’s super easy and will make the jarred stuff seem like the swill it is. If your turkey recipe called for a small amount of water at the bottom of the roasting pan, simply collect the drippings (all the liquid at the bottom, and likely some rendered fat). If you used a recipe that doesn’t have water (or deep fried) you might be out of luck. You can also use broth for this if you want.

Heat the dripping in a sauce pan on MED/HIGH. Good gravy requires tasting so for all the items you add, do a little, stir in, taste, repeat. You’ll want to add salt, pepper, and any other herbs/spices you might want for a particular food. For the spicy Wingin’ It gravy, that was hot sauce and thyme.

Once you have your flavor set, it’s time to thicken it. Place 3-4 Tbsp of all-purpose flour in a small bowl. Add about 5 Tbsp of the drippings into the bowl and mix it in with the flour until smooth. Small lumps are fine. Stir in about half of this mixture into the drippings. Check the thickness of what is now becoming gravy. Add a little more of the flour mixture in at a time until you reach desired thickness. If you use all the flour mixture, you can repeat the above and make more. Homemade gravy can be refrigerated but will likely end up gelatinous when cooled. No worries, it’ll turn back into gravy when warmed. And yes, I know jambalaya isn’t usually served with gravy, but you likely have some left and it’s a great way to easily stir in some added flavor.