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Trying to "fix" a new gumbo - duck and andouille

kcadams1980 Mar 8, 2011 12:07 PM

Hey all,

I'm originally from NOLA (now in Houston, sigh), and have been making chicken and sausage gumbo for years and years. My family recipe is pretty simple - a dark roux (I've used peanut oil most successfully, tried bacon grease and duck fat with less success), the trinity, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, cayenne, parsley/green onion and some tabasco and/or LA hot sauce to taste. I got the idea to just swap out the chicken for duck, but both times I've tried this, I end up with an overly greasy gumbo (oil slick on top). Here's what I've done in the past, and what I'm thinking about trying this time, if there are any roux-guru's who'd like to troubleshoot! BTW, I have looked at other threads about rouxs, just wondering if there is something specific about the duck that might be causing this issue (eg, more fat than chicken?).

Last time I tried this version, I made my roux with equal parts duck fat (obtained while browning the duck parts first) and flour. Low and slow, got nice and choclately after an hour or so. Next I added the chopped trinity veg and gradually added room temp chicken stock to the mix. Once I got my pot full, added the herbs & sausage, then cut up the duck into bite size pieces and added them. Bring to a boil and simmer down for 2 hrs or so. I noticed during the simmering process that I got a giant brown oil slick on top of my gumbo. The taste was just fine (love duck!) but I want to fix the grease problem.

Here's what I'm thinking this time around... I think that perhaps the half and half fat (oil) and flour might need to be adjusted. Something like 2parts flour to one part oil (I'm gonna stick with the peanut oil this time, seems more forgiving). I've got 4 wild ducks that I'm gonna put into a stock pot with stock veggies and BOIL to cook the duck meat - creating a duck stock and cooking the meat for the gumbo. Let the stock chill and scoop any fat off the top that solidifies. And I guess taking the fatty fat duck skin off prior to cooking is probably a good idea as well! Any thoughts on browning the sausage first to render out some fat? I've never done this with my chicken and sausage, but hey there's a first time for everything. Oh yeah, and I don't have a smoker so I can't smoke the ducks first (bummer).


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  1. JungMann RE: kcadams1980 Mar 8, 2011 12:12 PM

    When I make duck gumbo, I used boned leg quarters which I sear and chop before adding to the simmering pot of gumbo and sausage. I've only had grease float on to once, but I skimmed it off in the fridge.

    If you are going to boil the duck, pierce it all around to provide space for the fat to render out. Remove the flaccid skin and just use the meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JungMann
      kcadams1980 RE: JungMann Mar 8, 2011 12:27 PM

      Thanks Jung... I actually have whole wild birds that my neighbor shot himself and oh-so-generously gifted me! So we're gonna be using the whole duck.

      Great suggestion about poking holes in the duck to boil - I didn't think of that!

    2. Uncle Bob RE: kcadams1980 Mar 8, 2011 12:46 PM

      Try roasting the ducks in your oven first....Do not over cook!!...Remove the breast, thigh and leg meat, and set aside.~~~ Simmer the carcass with a little onion, celery, pepper, garlic, bay loaf etc. Remove the carcass and any remaining meat that you want....If you have a fat separator use it now!...If not refrigerate/chill and remove the fat later ~~ Make your roux with less oil. ~~ Depending on how fat your sausage is you may want to consider browning it off first ~~ Build your Gumbo ~~~ Add the roasted duck meat back towards the very end of cooking...HTH

      1. r
        rjbh20 RE: kcadams1980 Mar 8, 2011 02:02 PM

        When you did your last version, did you use wild ducks in that or farmed? The former usually have much less fat than the latter. In either case, if you add unrendered fat (duck skin & sausage) to gumbo, the fat has to go somewhere when the heat renders it, hence the oil slick.

        Either render some of the fat first (brown your duck & sausage) or just skim the fat, though the latter will also remove fat-soluble flavor components. Or, just remove the skin from the (raw) duck and toss in the meat. Going to the trouble of boiling the duck first seems like bit of a pain and you'll leave flavor behind unless you use a lot of the stock.

        Good luck

        2 Replies
        1. re: rjbh20
          kcadams1980 RE: rjbh20 Mar 10, 2011 08:46 AM

          Last time I used farmed duck. These wild ones are smaller and I imagine leaner as well. I kind of like Uncle Bob's idea above of roasting the ducks first THEN removing skin THEN making a stock from the carcass. It's gonna be a lot of steps, I know, but better than using canned stock!

          1. re: kcadams1980
            rjbh20 RE: kcadams1980 Mar 10, 2011 09:26 AM

            Good luck, and kudos for making the effort to do it right. Have you used wild duck before? It can be quite a bit different from farmed, depending on the breed, age and what they've been eating. Often very liverish, almost bitter.

        2. DoobieWah RE: kcadams1980 Mar 10, 2011 09:51 AM

          First, welcome to Houston.

          I love New Orleans, but haven't been back since the storm.

          I have successfully made duck and adouille gumbo using my usual method of making the stock early in the morning and then letting it cool so I can separate the fat. Just stew the duck for 45 minutes to an hour and then remove from the pot. When it cools enough to shred the meat, return the bones and cartilage to the stockpot to finish.

          I add the meat back to the gumbo about 45 minutes before serving.

          Yum. I gotta do this again soon.

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