Excerpted from Mosquito Supper Club by Melissa Martin (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2020.
If I’m celebrating a special occasion, I pick up a duck to make this gumbo. Be sure to start with a sustainably raised duck. They’re not easy animals to raise, so finding a good source can be tricky. Wild ducks are sustainable, of course. Their diet makes their meat taste clean and earthy, as if they’ve already been seasoned and need just a little salt. During the holidays, my father always has wild ducks for me to cook, but organic free-range ducks are available at butchers and online. The farm-raised variety is meaty and makes for a delicious gumbo.
Serves 6 to 8
1 (5-pound/2.3 kg) whole duck, cut into 8 pieces, skin removed and reserved
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, plus more as needed
Canola oil, if needed
1½ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
3½ pounds (1.6 kg) yellow onions, finely diced
½ cup (55 g) finely diced celery
¼ cup (35 g) finely diced green bell pepper
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3 bay leaves
16½ cups (4 L) duck stock or chicken stock, warmed
Cooked rice, for serving
¼ cup (13 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
¼ cup (20 g) finely chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickles, for serving
Potato Salad, for serving
Put the duck in a large bowl and season with the salt, black pepper, cayenne, and hot sauce. Set aside to marinate at room temperature.
Put the duck skin in a heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until all the fat is rendered. Don’t let the fat burn; if it looks like it’s getting too hot, reduce the heat to low. Strain the fat through a sieve into a liquid measuring cup and discard the solids. You should have 1 cup (240 ml) fat; if you don’t have enough rendered fat, go ahead and add some oil.
Return the fat to the pot and set it over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the roux is the color of milk chocolate, about 45 minutes.