I’m really trying hard to clear out stuff from my freezer. It doesn’t help that I keep buying new ingredients, I know, but I still try. I had a few smoked duck breasts sitting at the bottom of my freezer for ages, and I knew I had to make something that would do them justice. I’ve used them in risotto before, and considered using them in aglio olio. But I wanted to use them all up in one go, so I decided on this gumbo recipe I found on Saveur.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect when making this. The ingredients looked simple enough, and given the rather tedious step of making a dark roux, I went on with it hoping it wasn’t for nothing. When I finally tried it, served over steaming hot white rice, I was so pleasantly surprised. The flavor was rich and dark and smoky and went so well with the plain rice. All of us went for seconds.
The original recipe made a lot, so I halved the recipe and used ingredients I had on hand (and actually available in KL/Malaysia). I couldn’t find mesquite seasoning anywhere, and making your own still seems like a pain, so I used barbecue seasoning instead. The goal of this recipe is to create as much of that wonderful smoky flavor as possible, so do not sub that smoked paprika with sweet or hot (all three offer quite different flavors anyway), definitely use smoked duck instead of fresh, and find some good quality smoked sausages. I made the mistake of using cheapo “smoked” sausages (see pic below), and was rather disappointed by the really meh texture, which resembled fishballs instead of meat and gristle. The next time I make this (and I definitely will), I’ll use Victoria Crest’s smoked chicken sausages instead, which is available at the more upmarket grocers like B.I.G. and Village Grocer. I’ll also be making the potato salad as well, which I hear is excellent when paired with this gumbo.
Try it out! Well worth the effort.