We roasted a whole duck Christmas Day. At the end of the evening when faced with the duck carcass and a few roasted vegetables leftover, I did what any good Polish housewife would do and made duck stock. All of the bones and the veggies (a mix of carrot, onion, parsnip, potato, and Brussels sprouts) went into Dutch oven with enough water to cover everything, probably about 12 cups. I brought it to a boil then turned the heat down as low as it would go, covered it and let it simmer over night. If you’re doing this during the day, a couple of hours should be sufficient. I was just out of steam and couldn’t stay up that long. I had no idea what I would do with this at the time. Luckily, inspiration came the next day, and it turned into some excellent duck sausage gumbo. If you’re not cooking a duck, you could do this with any kind of leftover poultry.
After letting the liquid cool to room temperature, I poured it through a strainer to remove the veggies and the duck carcass. After cooking for so long, the duck was disintegrating, lifting it out was not an option. The veggies were discarded. I think any flavor in them had long since cooked out. I picked the meat off the bones and was pleasantly surprised that I had almost three cups. I wanted to remove the layer of fat that was on top of the stock. I could have used a fat separating measuring cup, but mine is small. It would have been a lot of pouring and probably a lot of spilling. Since I wasn’t in a hurry, I popped the pan with the liquid into the freezer to firm up the fat, making it easier to remove. The gelatinous stock became almost solid, and I was able to scrap off the fat with a metal spatula.
After browsing through three recipes in our favorite Cajun cookbook, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen, I felt ready to take this on. We invited friends over for an impromptu dinner party, and the duck sausage gumbo was very well received.
- ¼ cup flour
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 2½ cups chopped onions, divided
- 2½ cups chopped bell peppers, divided
- 2½ cups chopped celery, divided
- 2½ cups chopped okra, divided
- ¼ cup duck fat (add olive oil if more fat is needed)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 cups duck broth
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 3 cups shredded duck meat
- 1 pound Polish sausage, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups rice, cooked according to package directions ( I used Basmati rice because of the lower glycemic index)
- Combine the flour, salt, paprika, white pepper, onion powder, cayenne, black pepper, and cumin
- On a plate, combine together ½ cup each of the onion, bell pepper, celery, and okra, set aside
- Heat the duck fat in a large Dutch oven over high heat
- Add the flour and seasoning mix, stirring and scraping constantly, cook until dark brown, 4 - 5 minutes, add the reserved mixed vegetables, and continue cooking over high heat for one more minute
- Add the garlic, and immediately begin adding the duck broth, one cup at a time, stirring between each addition
- Add the tomatoes (including liquid), duck meat, the sausage, and the remaining vegetables
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, loosely cover, and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Served in bowls with a scoop of cooked rice
I’m sure a Cajun dish isn’t what pops into everyone’s mind. How would you use up leftover duck or other poultry?