The bold flavors of wild duck and smoked pork sausage overwhelm your taste buds when you dive into this soul-satisfying bowl of dark Cajun roux-infused Wild Duck Gumbo—a South Louisiana specialty.
I’ve heard statistics that support my contention that in Louisiana, more men cook per capita than anywhere else in the country. And that’s not just macho bravado speaking, it is the bonafide, Southern-fried, countrified truth. Give a Cajun man a black pot and a wooden spoon, and step back and wait for the magic to happen.
My friend Jay Owen is a world-class hunter and a member of Ducks Unlimited where he serves on the national board of directors. I cook with him often, and whenever he stops by and delivers a treasure trove of wild ducks to my doorstep, it’s time to bring out the cast iron.
With the end of duck season at hand, you’re sure to find a friend with a few wild ducks to throw in your gumbo pot. If not, feel free to use a domestic duck, but understand that there will be more fat on a farm-raised duck. Be sure to trim any excess fat and skim the surface of the gumbo. And the differences in taste and texture of wild versus domestic are far-ranging. Either way, you’re in for a treat.
This Wild Duck Gumbo may just be the perfect expression of duck camp cooking. And best of all, it’s easy when you follow my time-tested recipe.
- 12 teal, cleaned
- 4 medium yellow onions
- 4 carrots
- 4 stalks celery
- 4 pounds wild duck breast, cleaned and blood removed
- 2 pounds par-cooked teal breast meat, from stock
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups diced yellow onion
- 2 cups diced celery
- 2 cups diced green bell pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
- 3 pounds sliced smoked pork sausage
- 2 gallons duck stock or dark chicken stock, plus more if needed, see recipe
- 1 cup (8 ounces) dark Cajun roux, such as Rox's Roux
- 1 tablespoon Acadiana Table Cajun Seasoning Blend, see recipe here
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 8 cups cooked long-grain white rice (such as Supreme), for serving
- 2 cups diced green onion tops, for garnish
- Hot sauce, for serving
- Rinse teal in cold water until all blood is removed.
- In a stockpot over high heat, add teal and cover with water. Simmer for 20 minutes until par-cooked.
- Pour off the water and rinse the ducks in cold water. Once cooled, remove the breast meat from the birds and reserve.
- Return the carcasses to the stockpot over high heat along with the onions, carrots, and celery, and cover with 2 gallons water. Simmer for 3 hours, skimming the surface along the way.
- Strain the stock, skim the fat, and let cool.
- Cut the duck breasts into chunks and reserve. Also, reserve the partially cooked teal breast meat.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven with a lid over medium-high heat, add the oil along with the onion, celery, and bell pepper. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
- Add garlic, parsley, and rosemary and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
- Add duck meat and sausage. Add stock and roux. Add seasoning and black pepper. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Uncover and skim excess oil from the surface. Cover and continue simmering for another 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve over rice with green onions.
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