Wild duck and sausage gumbo recipe

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  • Yield: 8 to 10 Servings


  • 4 whole ducks, plucked, skin-on (about 10 pounds total)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup dried thyme
  • 10 to 12 fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 cup bacon grease (rendered from about 6 slices of cooked bacon)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large yellow onions, diced
  • 3 green bell peppers, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 1 pound andouille or polish smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 3 tablespoons file powder (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 to 8 cups long-grain white rice, cooked according to package directions
How to Make It
  1. Set two very large stockpots of water to boil over high heat; they should be large enough to hold all of the whole duck carcasses.
  2. Begin by removing the duck breasts with a boning knife, slicing vertically along the breastbone and through the ribs. Then remove the legs and thighs from the duck. Place the legs and thighs, remaining carcasses, the bay leaves, thyme, garlic, and cayenne in the uncovered stock pots and turn the heat down to medium to just a simmer. After 45 minutes remove the legs and thighs from the water and set them aside to cool briefly. Pull the meat off the bones, setting it aside, and return the skin and bones to the pot. Continue to simmer the duck carcasses uncovered for another 2 hours to create a duck stock; the liquid will reduce by about half. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, discarding the solids, and keep it warm in one large pot. You want to end up with about 2½ gallons of strained and reduced duck stock.
  3. While the stock is simmering, dice the reserved duck breasts into 1-inch chunks.
  4. Heat the bacon grease in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook to make a dark roux, whisking constantly for about 10 minutes until it obtains a frosting-like consistency and is coffee-colored. Remove it from the pan and set aside.
  5. Heat a second large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the canola oil. When it is shimmering, add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the vegetables and the dark roux to the pot of stock, stirring in carefully to avoid any spilling. The roux should melt into the stock and begin to thicken it.
  6. Add the reserved duck thigh and leg meat, the chopped breast meat, ham, and sausage to the stock and simmer covered for 1 hour, or until the gumbo is thick and the duck meat is tender. Just before serving, stir in the file powder (if using).
  7. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and cayenne if needed, and serve over rice.

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