This recipe is an excellent stew or soup made with duck legs, smoked sausages and shrimp combined together and pickled okra mixed to give a flavorful and aromatic dish. Gumbo is a stew or soup probably originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. Gumbo is traditionally served over rice.
Traditionally a delicious gumbo consists of a strongly flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener and seasoning vegetables which include celery, bell peppers and onions. An excellent gumbo is often classified by the type of the thickener used, one by using vegetable okra, two using Choctaw spice file powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves or the roux, the French base made of flour and fat.
There are several variants of making a nice gumbo recipe. For example in New Orleans, Creole gumbo generally contains shellfish, tomatoes and a thickener. Cajun gumbo is another variety often having a dark roux with either shellfish or fowl. Sausage or ham is often added to gumbos of either variety. After the base is prepared, vegetables are cooked down, and then meat is added. The dish simmers for a minimum of three hours, with shellfish and some spices added near the end. If desired, filé powder is added after the pot is removed from heat. A third, lesser-known variety is the meatless gumbo z’herbes, essentially a gumbo of slow-cooked greens sometimes thickened with roux, with rice served on the side.
The making of an appetizing Gumbo combines ingredients and culinary practices of several cultures, including French, Spanish, German, West African and Choctaw. Gumbo is usually based on traditional West African or native dishes or may be a derivation of French dish bouillabaisse. The cooking of gumbo dish is often simmered all day long. Usually the meat (except seafood) is often browned well before hand and removed from the heat which helps in enhancing the flavors later on.
Okra and roux are cooked before other vegetables and seafood. Okra is removed from heat when it reaches the desired consistency, while roux remains in the pot. Seasoning vegetables are then added to the sauce. When these have turned to mush (more commonly called cooked down), the meat and okra are added to the pot along with water and/or stock, then boiled uncovered until the desired tenderness of the meat is reached. Seasonings, including red, black, and white pepper, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, and salt, are added to taste. Sources say that, ‘proper seasoning of gumbo is essential, and in Louisiana adding just the right zing is considered an art’. As seafood cooks quickly, it is generally added to the end of the process. Finish off the gumbo dish garnished with green onions and parsley.
To prepare an excellent and quick mouth watering Gumbo, go ahead try this recipe. Firstly in a large skillet, add in some vegetable oil on medium high heat and put in 2 duck legs and fry. Brown these two duck legs well to give a nice caramelized color and flavor this will also render the fat to make the roux. Roux is the main base of the gumbo. Brown the skin side of the duck legs for about 10 mins and the meat side for about 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Remove the legs and put them in a plate.
In the same pan, add 1 cup flour and some vegetable oil and mix well until no lumps formed and you get a smooth thin mixture. Cook for a long time on medium heat till it gets an amazing brick red color (about 40 minutes). It’s because, the deeper the color, the more flavorful the gumbo would turn and add little (2 tablespoon) more flour and slightly thicken the roux. To this, add in 6 cups chicken stock, whisk thoroughly and turn off and set it aside.
Brown in 1 pound andouille sausage, 1 cup diced peppers (any combination of sweet and hot), 1 large onion, chopped an fry well till they become soft and onion turns translucent for 10 minutes. Add in 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste, 1 cup diced tomatoes and mix well. In the center, add in 1 smoked pork hock and add 2 cups water, or as needed. Add the browned duck legs and simmering the heat cook for about 4 to 5 hours covering the pan. In between skim all the oil that comes up on the surface of the stock and keep stirring in between.
After the meat is soft and tender, remove the meat pieces and keep aside. Add in the 1 cup sliced okra, fresh, frozen or pickled which actually gives an incredible bouncy richness and taste to the gumbo. Simmer the heat and cook for 45 minutes. Finally add in 1 pound gulf shrimp and 1 pound crawfish tail meat or langoustine and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes until the meat is done. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with freshly chopped 4 green onions and 1 cup celery. Serve with rice.
Gumbo is a heavily seasoned soup or stew that combines several varieties of meat or seafood with a sauce or gravy. Andouille sausage is often added to both meat and seafood gumbos to provide “piquancy, substance, and an additional layer of flavor” to the dish.
Tip: The length of cooking time determines the final flavor and texture, since the longer the roux is cooked before being added to the gumbo, the darker it becomes and the less thickening power it retains. A very dark roux provides a much thinner sauce with a more intense flavor than a light roux. The dark roux gives the gumbo its signature flavor, but doesn’t have much thickening power. The pickled okra gives the gumbo a great flavor and adds a little bit of acidity.
This gumbo recipe, featuring duck, andouille sausage, smoked pork hock, gulf shrimp, and langoustine is truly scrumptious and appetizing.
As you’ll see, this is a dish takes time (almost a day), but you should still give a try mainly for its explicit flavors and taste. Enjoy cooking!