It’s my birthday; it’s my birthday, Happy Birthday to me! One year ago, I decided it was finally time for me to learn to cook. I was turning 50 in 366 days and surely during that time I could quasi-master the art of boiling water! Many of you have followed along during this journey and I thank you. I still don’t consider myself “experienced” at cooking but I do consider that my skills have reached intermediate level. This weekend, I put those skills to the test. My Son-in-law received 2 pounds of ground venison from one of his employees. He asked if I would cook it………he hasn’t been in the family long enough to know that Top Girl (his wife) is the best cook. I decided it was time that challenge myself and “make up” a recipe. It would have to be within my realm of possibility and also something that everyone in the family would eat. But, I also wanted to be out of my comfort zone. I finally settled on wild game gumbo. I’m not a hunter and no one in my family is either but there are many of us that enjoy eating some wild game. I thought about making the venison into sausage first, but felt that may have been a bit too ambitious.
Deer (Venison) and Duck Gumbo
The following is what I came up with:
• 2 ½ tbsp butter
• 2 ½ tbsp flour
• 2 tbsp corn oil
• Meat of 1 smoked duck
• 1/3 cup coarsely diced onion
• ¼ cup coarsely diced bell pepper
• 2 tbsp finely diced celery
• Handful of peppers, seeds and all (optional)
• 1 Lb. of Venison Meatballs
• 1 tbsp paprika
• ¼ tsp black pepper
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 small bay leaf
• 1 ¼ quarts concentrated chicken or Duck stock – I used Duck stock.
• 1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet (or Worcestershire sauce)
• Duck cracklings’ for the top.
1. In a small skillet over medium low heat, add the butter and flour. Stir constantly and thoroughly as color slowly depends in color and reaches a dark, reddish brown. This process should take at the very least 20 minutes (mine took 40 minutes). Remove from heat and pour into a container. Set aside. The color will continue to deepen to a dark, chocolate brown.
2. Heat corn oil to hot and maintain heat in a four-quart cast-iron or other heavy pot over medium-low heat.
3. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown smoked duck meat, then add to oil in the cast-iron pot. Repeat process with onion, bell pepper and celery, sautéing each ingredient individually and transferring each one to the cast-iron pot as it is browned.
4. Add the paprika, black pepper, cayenne and bay leaf to the pot and stir. Mix in stock. Stir in roux until blended.
5. Bring to a boil and cook 40 minutes, stirring attentively.
6. Add Kitchen Bouquet (or worchestershire sauce)and Tabasco and stir well. Simmer 5 minutes longer.
7. Pull out duck. With tongs and a fork (the meat will be too hot to handle with your fingers), shred the meat and add it back to the gumbo and mix.
8. Serve hot with white rice, mashed potatoes or…..like me: on blue box macaroni and cheese and a couple of hot wings!!
Before I show you the pictures, I want to let you know that I will have posts this week that show you how to make the venison meatballs, how to smoke the duck and meatballs, how to render duck fat for duck fat fries at home, and how to make duck stock. It’s pretty darn incredible what you can do with a $12 duck. In Oklahoma City, duck fat fries cost $8 an order – unless you live in this house! 🙂
Duck and Venison Meatballs being prepared for smoker.
Duck and Venison onto smoker. 4 lb duck for 4 hours and meatballs for 2 hours.
Browning the meat of duck after smoking.
Making the roux.
The color roux should be!
Browning the onion, peppers, celery, garlic, and chili paste.
Adding the spices to the duck stock and bringing to boil.
After adding the duck meat and venison meatball.
I didn’t have any rice or potatoes and besides, Mr. Picky eater would never eat rice so I improvised with some blue box macaroni and cheese that I added about 1/2 a block of shredded cheese to. This gumbo was THE BEST gumbo I have ever made! I sure hope that at least SOME of it makes it over to my son-in-law! hahaha!! See ya’ll next time. Boy do I have some cool Halloween treats to share as well this week!