Fall is my favorite time of year. Planting my fall garden, football season getting started and baseball playoffs upon us, we have a lot of options to enjoy the harvest season with friends and family. I have cooked duck several ways, from wrapping the breast with bacon, to grilling and frying, they are all great options, but duck gumbo is a crowd pleaser for hunters and nonhunters alike. The process takes a while, but the results are well worth the effort. You can freeze the gumbo too, but I like to strain off the ingredients and freeze the gumbo broth alone, and then add fresh ingredients when ready to warm up a batch.
SERVES: 6 to 8
Roux & Trinity
1 cup flour E.G. Kentucky Kernel
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ salted butter
3 cups chopped onions
2 ½ cups chopped bell pepper
2 cups chopped celery
5 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup sherry wine or ½ cup cooking wine
2 ½ quarts duck stock or beef stock. Preferably homemade
Duck meat, 5-6 cups duck breast cubed ½”X ½”
2 lb. Andouille sausage cubed ½” X ½”
5 bay leaves
14 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons of dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce Louisiana, Cajun Chef or Crystals’ hot sauce to taste
Bedding & Topping
2 ½ cups fresh okra chopped and fried for topping
2 cups steamed white rice or my favorite is SooFoo. This can be found at whole foods.
Put just a pinch in every bowl
Step 1 – Meat Prep: In a medium frying pan add a teaspoon of olive oil and heat to medium high. Place 1 cup of meat in pan at a time, brown until all moisture is gone and meat is cooked. Repeat the process until all of the meat is cooked. Set aside in a bowl until it is needed in step 3.
Step 2 – Roux & Trinity: Start the roux by pouring the oil first in the bottom of the stock pot or Dutch oven you plan to make your gumbo in and set to medium heat. When the oil is hot enough that a pinch of flour causes it to sizzle like it is frying, begin adding the flour to the oil while stirring constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon. The roux requires constant stirring while cooking to prevent it from burning and it may be necessary to reduce the heat during cooking several times to prevent the roux from burning. Once half of the flour has been added put the butter in. Continue the process as you where while slowly adding the remainder flour. You will notice the roux slowly beginning to get darker as you stir it. The correct shade for a gumbo roux will look like a melted milk chocolate. It could take 30-45 minutes for the roux to reach its desired shade, be sure to keep an eye on the heat during the cooking process so that the roux does not burn. This requires some patience and a lot of attention. If you burn the roux,start over. Once the roux has reached its correct shade add the onions, celery and bell peppers (trinity) to the roux, add the garlic and set heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Step 3 – Gumbo: Add the wine, 2 quarts of strained stock, browned duck meat and sausage to the pot with the roux/trinity and set heat to medium. Add all seasonings and remaining ingredients to the pot and stir gently until the roux and stock blend together. Once pot boils for 5 minutes reduce heat to low and cook over low heat for 2 hours. The gumbo may look thin when all the ingredients are first added to the pot but it will cook down into a very nice consistency over the next two hours. As the gumbo thickens add the remaining stock. The longer it cooks the better it gets. 3 to 4 hours is best but not necessary.
Step 4: During the cooking process some oil from the roux and fat from the sausage will float to the top. You can use a big gravy spoon or something similar to skim it off the top. It makes for a better finished product.
Step 5 – Bedding & Topping: Any gumbo is best served over white rice with a big piece of French bread. Fried okra over the dish makes for great treat as well. Pan fry okra with no flour to a crisp and top each bow with about 10 pieces. Frying the okra and placing on top allows for a gumbo of better/silky consistency than adding it into the dish beforehand.
Step 6: Enjoy and share with friends! Open a cold beer or glass of red wine and enjoy this wonder dish from your hard earned harvest.
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