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!
Happy Birthday! It looks pretty delicious. I’ve never worked with duck, and have no idea what duck fat fries are. So, I’m looking forward to your posts this week!!
I’ve actually worked with duck since I was young – it was my dad’s favorite at Thanksgiving! Can’t wait to share!!
Happy Birthday Kelli! You went way out of my comfort zone on this, sounds delish! Too funny about your hubby and Rice, My hubby’s that way about pasta and my son hates rice! Makes meal planning very challenging here.
Girl, I know what you mean! That’s 50% of the reason I cussed so much in the kitchen! 🙂 Thank you!
Choc Chip Uru
Happy birthday my friend 😀
Oh wow I love love love your dish, so talented!
Choc Chip Uru
Thank you very much for the good wishes! Hope all is well at school!
I can’t wait. I bought my nuttybutter cookies. Going to make ghosts.
Don’t fix them all! I have ANOTHER Nutter Butter halloween recipe that’s just as easy! I will be sharing that this week as well! 🙂
Happy birthday, Kelli. What a way to celebrate!
Thank you so much Lillian!
Happy Happy Birthday!!! This recipe looks great and considering, I’ve got hunters in my house bringing me interesting things to cook every week, this is going to be a winner!!! Enjoy your day!
thank you so much for the birthday wishes and please let me know how it turns out!!
Happy Birthday, Kelli … This looks like quite the ambitious project … Can’t wait to see all your posts 🙂
Happy Birthday. You made yourself a killer dinner. Unfortunately it wouldn’t fly with MY picky Hubby.
Thank you for the birthday wish – I think the only reason Mr. Picky eater went for it was because it was my birthday and he considered that one of my gifts! 🙂
Happy Birthday. When I was a meat eater, I loved venison. It is a very good tasting meat. Of course all the food looks great in the pictures. Hope you did not have to cook too much on your B-day. 🙂
My daughter loves some kinds of venison – as long as they don’t graze on wild sage, she’s allergic to that, then she really loves the leaness. I have not cooked yet today and don’t plan to – it will be my bedtime soon so there’s no chance of that! 🙂 Thank you!!
Happy birthday and congrats on achieving a life goal!
Thanks Anita – I’m getting ready to post one of my Halloween treats and all I can say is: it’s a good thing I’m not a perfectionst! 🙂
Happy birthday Kelli 🙂
Happy Belated Birthday Kelli – hope you are well and had a great day?
yes, thank you……..spent it with Top Girl and Rocket while Mr. Picky eater played in a charity golf tournament. MPE and I are taking our own little holiday on the 19th – for my birthday – so I shall look forward to that.
Are you going somewhere nice? In my opinion it’s just nice to get away, even if it’s local. We’ve already booked next years holiday (more local in Norfolk). I’m glad you had a good time!
yes, we are going to a place about 2 hours south of where we live. It is a resort area at the border of Oklahoma and Texas. It has a spa for me and a golf course for him – our all-time favorite Mexican restaurant and at night? A casino for a little fun. It iwll be loads of excitement and fun for a couple of days.
Happy belated birthday!!
Thank you!! It was fun!