- 1 (5-pound) duck, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 medium yellow onions, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1/2 poblano pepper or a whole jalapeño, diced
- 1¼ cups neutral oil like vegetable or canola
- Creole seasoning, to taste
- 3 quarts high-quality chicken or duck stock, preferably homemade
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 bay leaves
- 1½ pounds smoked andouille sausage, halved and sliced
- Louisiana-style hot sauce, to taste
- cooked rice, for serving
- 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
It's all about that mega-dark roux for me! The browning of the vegetables in the hot roux adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the finished dish. I can attest that tossing a deviled egg and a handful of potato chips in a bowl of gumbo at a potluck is delicious. But be careful choosing your own adventure 'cause they might kick ya out of the party.
Paul Prudhomme called dark roux Cajun napalm because it's super hot and will burn the heck out of you. Be careful to whisk without splashing. A long whisk or wooden spoon can help you keep your distance from the roux and its steam. If you see black specks appear in your roux, those are burnt spots, and it's time to start over (happens to the best of us).
Making roux on high heat comes together fast and requires constant attention and focus. If you think things are progressing faster than you can control them, remove the roux from the heat and slow down, but don't stop whisking. At the end, you will use your diced vegetables to stop the roux from cooking, so have them ready to go. I prefer the final product to be one shade less than black, so a very, very dark brown.
Also, keep in mind that many factors can affect the saltiness of a finished gumbo including the brand of Creole seasoning, store-bought versus homemade stock, and the salinity of your sausage.
Swap option: Use wild duck if you can get your hands on it. Chicken works great for this recipe as well.
Place the duck pieces in a large bowl. Season with the salt, pepper, cayenne and garlic powder, then toss with half a cup of flour until fully coated with no flour left at the bottom of the bowl.2.
Collect the onion, bell pepper, celery and poblano pepper in a medium bowl and set aside.3.
In a large, heavy bottomed skillet or cast-iron pan over high heat, heat the oil until it’s good and hot (around 350 F). Working in batches, adjusting the heat as not to burn it, fry the duck pieces until they are golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Set aside.4.
Into a large heavy bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, carefully strain the oil through a fine mesh strainer. Add the strained solids into the vessel with the reserved duck pieces (or discard them if they seem burnt).5.
Place the pot of oil over high heat. Once it’s smoking hot, gradually add the remaining 1½ cups of flour in three or four batches, while stirring constantly. Continue to whisk over high heat with a long-handled heavy-duty metal whisk. Being careful not to let the flour scorch in the pan or jump out and burn ya, cook on high, whisking constantly and lowering the heat toward the end if necessary for control, until the roux is one shade less than black (a couple shades past dark red-brown). This takes 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your comfort level with browning the roux rapidly on high heat.6.
Remove from heat and immediately add your bowl of diced vegetables to the hot roux to stop it from cooking. Stir constantly until the sizzle of the vegetables starts to quiet down. Add 1 teaspoon of Creole seasoning and stir to incorporate.7.
Return the pan to the stove and cook over medium low heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 more minutes.8.
Add the stock, duck pieces, minced garlic and bay leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer, skimming the liquid fat off the top as it cooks (there will be a lot), until the duck is cooked through and the meat is starting to get tender, about an hour.9.
Add the sausage and simmer until the duck meat is falling off the bone, another 30 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pot.10.
Season to taste with Creole seasoning and salt.11.
Add hot sauce to taste (I like a lot).12.
Serve in a bowl with a small scoop of rice and top with thinly sliced green onions.