Gumbo is good. Gumbo with duck–even better. The Chesapeake Bay is not only home to premium oyster waters, but it also hosts some of the east coast’s best waterfowling. Whether you’re using ducks you harvested yourself or store-bought, this delicious gumbo recipe from Louisiana chef John Besh will fill your belly and warm your soul.
- 2 wild ducks (2 1/2 to 3 lbs. each), quartered
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. herbes de Provence
- 1 cup rendered duck fat or lard (or vegetable oil)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 onions, diced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 lb. andouille sausage, diced
- 1/2 lb. smoked pork sausage, chopped
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 3 qts. chicken or duck stock
- 2 cups oyster liquor
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups okra, diced (frozen works fine)
- 3 cups oysters
- Tabasco sauce
- 1 quart cooked jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Liberally season the ducks with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence.
- Slowly roast in a preheated oven until most of the fat has rendered out and the skin is nice and crispy for about 2 hours.
- Remove the ducks from the oven, and reserve the fat. Once cool, pick all the meat and skin from the ducks, and cut them into roughly 1½-inch pieces. Reserve.
- To make the roux, heat 1 cup of reserved duck fat (or lard) in a pot over medium heat, add the flour, and allow it to slowly cook to a light golden brown. This should take about ½ hour.
- Stir in the onions, and cook until the roux takes on a deep dark chocolate color.
- Add the duck, celery, sausages, and garlic, and cook to combine for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add stock, oyster liquor, Worcestershire, Creole seasoning, bay leaves, and okra, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Lower heat and simmer until flavors marry, occasionally skimming the fat that rises to the top, about 1½ hours.
- Add the oysters, and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Season the gumbo to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce.
- Serve over rice in a large flat soup bowl, and garnish with chopped green onions.
This recipe should serve 8-10 and is the perfect accompaniment to a southern style dinner, outdoor oyster roast or as a main course on your next party table spread.
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