All Day Duck Gumbo

April 24, 2011
4 Ratings
  • Serves a crowd
Author Notes

I thought quite a bit about what to enter for this week's theme - of course I considered making something truly Texan to reflect my love for my adopted state. I also considered pulling from everywhere I have lived, like I did with my paella. But in the end I went with this gumbo for a few reasons. One, Leo and I have a great love for Louisiana, it's culture and food and people. We go there every year - sometimes for a festival - sometimes during a down time. Leo proposed in New Orleans, and we have great friends that live there. Also, I wanted my dish to reflect our lives. At our house on any given weekend you will usually find a crowd - large or small - gathered around a pile of crawdads, or bobbing in the pool waiting for somethng to come off the grill, or maybe in the living room cheering for our Longhorns, or possibly just gathered around our big kitchen table. In all cases there is sure to be food, friends and family. I make this gumbo 2 or 3 times a year and it is a crowd favorite. I should probably call it 2 day gumbo because you really want to shop the day before. Also I think you could compress the timeline by being efficient with multitasking, but I don't. I like to do a step, water the garden, another step, go for a swim, another step, maybe throw in a load of wash or walk the dog, and generally meander through the day until it's time to feed some folks. I make several different kinds of gumbo, but this one is really the Cadillac of them all. We love this stuff, I hope you will too. - aargersi —aargersi

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is AMAZING! I’m no Gumbo connoisseur, but this dish I will happily make again. I served it over brown rice and while not traditional it was a nice compliment to the Gumbo. Because of timing, I broke up the cooking over two days. One day, I roasted the duck, toasted the flour, and cooked the sausage; I did the rest on the day to follow. Everything worked out great! I love cooking things over a long period of time; it just adds to the anticipation of a wonderful meal ahead. This gumbo will not not disappoint! - inthebow —inthebow

What You'll Need
  • 1 - 5 pounds duck
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • Kosher salt and sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 pound pork andouille sausage (3 links)
  • 1 cup chopped onion - fairly small chop
  • 1 cup chopped celery - same size as the onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper - same size as the onion and celery
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (I know this sounds like a lot but trust me)
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 brown beer (I use Abita Amber)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoons cayenne pepper (a full teaspoon makes it pretty spicy)
  • 3 whole bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo file
  • green onions, for garnish
  • EQUIPMENT - roasting pan preferably with a rack, and a heavy gumbo pot - I use my Le Cruset dutch oven
  1. Start in the morning! Put the oven on 250, and arrange the racks so there is room for the duck on top and a baking dish below. Remove the neck and giblets from the duck, rinse him and pat him dry. Cut the top off the bulb of garlic. Salt the duck inside then put the garlic inside. Prick him all over with a sharp fork - pierce the skin but not the meat. Sprinkle him all over with salt and paprika, tuck his wings behind his back (I got a one armed duck so he only had one tucked). Spray the rack of your roasting pan or wipe it with oil, and put the duck on breast side down. Throw the neck in the pan too. Put him in the oven.
  2. Put the flour in a baking dish - I just use a 9x13 black metal one. I also do 4 cups at a time, you will use 1/2 cup for the gumbo and the rest can go in a jar in the pantry for future rouxs and gravies. Put the flour in the oven too. For 3 30 minute intervals pull out the flour and stir it, and re-poke the duck skin with a fork. After the third time (you are an hour and a half in now) flip the duck over and repeat - 3 more 30 minute intervals with flour stirring and skin poking at the end of each one.
  3. NOW - turn the oven up to 350. The duck is going to roast for another 30 minutes until it is nice and brown. Then pull him out and set him aside to cool. Put the andouille links on a cookie sheet (I spritz with no stick) and into the oven. After about 10 or 15 minutes flip them - they should be browning and spattering. Give them a little poke with the fork too to let out some of the fat. Stir the flour and cook 10 or 15 more minutes, Pull the andouille out, and stir the flour. Put the duck and andouille on a big cutting board where you can process them and let them cool all the way. Chop the veggies while you wait and stir that flour every 10 or 15 minutes until it is a nice toasty brown. You won't think it's dark enough but when you add it to the oil in awhile it will be. I am attaching a photo of what you are looking for.
  4. Chop the veggies. Time for music - suggested listening - The Subdudes (of course), Mingo Fishtrap, The Gourds, The Neville Brothers, Rockin' Doopsie
  5. Open the beer and let it sit for a bit. Cut the sausage up into bite size discs. Break down the duck - this is what I do - first, pull off the breast skin which will still be a little soft - SAVE IT. Then I get a stock pot and literally pull the meat off with my hands and rip it up and throw the bones in the stock pot (duck and grilled steak bone stock is awesome). I pick what I can off the neck and add that to the duck pile and throw the neck bones in the stock pot. It's all completey barbarian. But it's fun.
  6. Wash your hands. Put vegetable oil and 1/2 c toasted flour in the gumbo pot on medium heat. Stir until it's hot - see how dark it got? Once it's hot add the onions and stir for a 2-3 minutes. Add the celery, peppers and garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the broth and the beer. It's going to look odd and lumpy - never fear it will smooth out as it simmers and you stir. Bring it to a simmer, then add the spices EXCEPT the gumbo file - that goes in last. Also, start with 1/2 tsp of cayenne and then taste it in about 15 minutes for heat. You can always add more.
  7. Add the duck and the sausage and the vinegar. Let the pot simmer away - now is a good time to clean the kitchen a bit. You could probably use a beer or a glass of wine or a giant iced tea. Cook the rice, too. Chop up the green onion. The gumbo is best if you can give it an hour to simmer on low, so do other stuff. Taste it now and then to see if it needs salt or cayenne.
  8. You are almost done! Now for a little lagniappe - get the duck skin and cut it up into small pieces. Fry it in a heavy skillet on medium heat until it is very brown and crispy. Drain it on to paper towels ... try not to eat it all right then. Now, right before serving, turn the heat up a bit and stir in the gumbo file.
  9. Time to EAT - rice goes in the bowl first, then gumbo. Top it off with green onion and duck cracklins, and enjoy. It has been a long day, right?

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • melindasterne
  • gingerroot
  • Waverly
  • lorigoldsby
  • AmyW

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

40 Reviews

Greg F. August 8, 2020
So this is really good but... First, if you're cooking duck you make the roux with duck fat, not vegetable oil. Second, I think this needs more than one cup each of the Holy Trinity (onions, celery, bell peppers) so as to give the gumbo more ummmphhh. That of course means more roux and so that's what I do. I generally smoke ducks as opposed to roasting them but that is not a critique of this recipe. Nice spicing, nice narrative in the recipe. It's good, make it.
melindasterne October 3, 2018
Yummy!!! I love the intro about your connection to New Orleans (so sweet!) I really appreciate the reminder for some tunes, to let the beer sit for a bit, and the duck skin crackling. Wondering why you didn't include okra in this recipe? I can't wait to try your recipe, thank you for sharing.
Julie April 25, 2018
So I just made this and yes it is a wonderful gumbo and it does indeed take all day. I am from New Orleans and this recipe in no way serves a crowd. It will feed only 5 for dinner so be aware!
gingerroot June 18, 2014
Abbie! I made this for Father's Day and omg is it amazing! I enjoyed the last of it today for lunch. Even my daughter, who was skeptical about duck, loved it. Can't wait to make it again!!
aargersi June 18, 2014
YAY that makes me very happy!!
starface80 July 3, 2013
this recipe is fabulous. i have a louisiana family, and have made their tried and true duck gumbo recipe more than once. this far surpasses it. i only change a few things only because of what's available in my kitchen: i use smoked paprika in the rub; i add oysters (about 7 minutes before serving so the oysters don't overcook); and i use wild ducks - 2 in this particular recipe since they're a bit smaller.
aargersi July 3, 2013
Awesome - thanks! As soon as I can get one of my nephews to shoot a couple ducks for me I will try this with them - I think season is in the fall. The oysters sound good too!
inthebow May 9, 2011
We just finished dinner. This was fantastic! I really enjoyed making it too. I love recipes that you can make over time. You can really watch them develop and your kitchen smells wonderful.

I did make this over two days. Day 1 I spent roasting the duck, toasting the flour and cooking the sausage. I finished everything on Day 2. I served it over brown rice and it was wonderful! The recipe is a definite keeper.

One small thing to note on the recipe is that the ingredient list doesn't have green onion, but it shows up in step 7.

Thank you, aargersi!
aargersi May 12, 2011
Thank you so much for the nice review - I am glad you enjoyed it! I like "project" dishes too ... they are so gratifying in the end. I will fix the green onion oopsie :-)
Waverly May 5, 2011
This looks wonderful, Abbie! I am a big fan of all gumbo and love duck. Jazz fest is this weekend. Are you there?
aargersi May 9, 2011
Hi Waverly! Just saw this - not at Jazz Fest, but heading to the Bayou Boogaloo!!!
lorigoldsby April 28, 2011
Your duck gumbo recipe sounds as good as any I've ever had in NOLA, it makes me want to check priceline for a last minute ticket to the Big Easy!...a cup of your gumbo, half an oyster po boy and a couple of my oysters ROCK, some jazz in the background and a hurricane to sip on...thanks for the culinary daydream!
AmyW April 28, 2011
I love duck and this is so YOU! I, of course, will dial down the heat but YUM!
lapadia April 27, 2011
Your gatherings sound like fun and your Gumbo looks like a party in a cup, aargersi!
monkeymom April 27, 2011
Love. I have a question. Which you love more...lamb or duck?
aargersi April 27, 2011
Oh MM that is a TOUGH question! I don't think I can answer ... I will say that duck FAT is a staple around here ....
MyCommunalTable April 26, 2011
What an adventure in a bowl. I need to make this since I have never been to New Orleans. Thanks for sharing.
healthierkitchen April 26, 2011
sounds just fabulous!!
drbabs April 26, 2011
It was SO fun having lunch with you yesterday. I love this recipe, and hope there's a day soon when we can do some real New Orleans cooking together. Thanks for sharing this and your great story.
Sagegreen April 26, 2011
Now that's southern hospitality! Yum.
aargersi April 26, 2011
Next time you visit perhaps some gumbo is in order?
mrslarkin April 26, 2011
I could get realllllly comfortable at your house, aargersi. :)
aargersi April 26, 2011
I sense a party comin' on!!!
Midge April 25, 2011
I love everything about this too! Can I just come over!?
aargersi April 26, 2011
Of course! Come on!!!
gingerroot April 25, 2011
Really love this - the headnote, the duck, the sounds amazing and I love that your recipes always feel like coming home.
aargersi April 26, 2011
:-) Thank you ... we keep an open door policy around here!
fiveandspice April 25, 2011
SO awesome aargersi! Love, love it!
aargersi April 25, 2011
Thanks! Would be fun to have a big Food52 Feed-Up and everyone cook their recipe this week wouldn't it?
student E. April 25, 2011
wow, love it! i've never heard of toast the flour for roux before. this i'm going to have to try!
aargersi April 25, 2011
you will love - so much easier than stirring for a million hours !