Mardi Gras jambalaya or Cajun gumbo?
Their differences are slight, both are perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras Lousiana-style. This duck and andouille sausage gumbo is comfort food with a Creole/Cajun kick.
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Elemental and satisfying is a good way to describe gumbo too. Yes, it is comfort food, but it’s more than that, a delicious blend of big flavors with just enough heat to liven things up. Perfect for Mardi Gras – or a cold winter night. The duck adds a meaty depth to this version, but if you can’t find duck legs, you can substitute chicken.Skip to next paragraph
Terry Boyd is the author of Blue Kitchen, a Chicago-based food blog for home cooks. His simple, eclectic cooking focuses on fresh ingredients, big flavors and a cheerful willingness to borrow ideas and techniques from all over the world. A frequent contributor to the Chicago Sun-Times, his recipes have also appeared on the Bon Appétit and Saveur websites.
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Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo
2 whole duck legs (drumstick and thigh, about 1 pound total)
salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 ribs celery, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cups chopped bell pepper (I used a mix of red and green)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 14-1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juices
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound fresh okra (may substitute frozen – see Kitchen Notes)
1-1/2 teaspoons filé powder (optional – see Kitchen Notes)
cooked white rice
chopped Italian parsley, for garnish (optional)
Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)
A quick tip: Chop the onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic before starting to cook the duck. It will make things easier – it will also make your kitchen smell like heaven right away.
Season the duck legs with salt and pepper and place them skin side down in a dry, unheated Dutch oven or heavy pot. Set the heat to medium-low and brown the duck on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. If the duck doesn’t release from the pot at 5 minutes, just let it cook a minute or so more and it will. Transfer the duck to a plate and add the andouille sausage. Brown just for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and transfer to a bowl (or the plate with the duck legs).
Make the roux. Survey the fat in the bottom of the pot. There probably won’t be more than a tablespoon or so (duck legs have much less fat than duck breasts do). Add 3 tablespoons or so of canola oil to the pot, enough to give you about 1/4 cup of fat. Raise the heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Whisk the flour into the oil to combine and continue whisking to prevent burning. My favorite tool for this is a DIREKT whisk we bought at IKEA more than five years ago. I’m not sure they still carry it, but I think they have something similar.
After 5 minutes or so, the roux will start to take on a blond hue. Continue whisking and cooking. If your roux starts to smoke, reduce the heat slightly. Eventually, the roux will turn a nice deep brown; mine took about 15 minutes to get to that point, but it can take longer.
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