Taking inspiration from a dream trip to Louisiana, Cai ap Bryn uses wild mallard to create a twist on the southern classic, Cajun gumbo. Serves 10.
To make this really good gumbo recipe, there are a couple of rules. The first is to take lots of time to make the dark roux. The second is to use the holy trinity — peppers, onions and celery. This particular gumbo recipe uses tomatoes to make it richer, but if you want a totally traditional dish, make it without the tomatoes and add a little extra stock.
Wild duck gumbo recipe
Prep time 45 minutes Cooking time 1 hour 30 minutes
- 2 mallard, quartered
- 250ml rapeseed oil
- 300g chorizo (or andouille sausage if you can get it)
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 white onions, chopped
- 1.5l chicken stock
- 140g plain flour
- 5 garlic cloves, diced
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp tabasco sauce
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp paprika if using andouille sausage (none needed if using chorizo)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 300g sliced okra
- 2 tbsp of tomato purée
- Season the duck and brown in 30ml of the oil. When this is done, remove the duck and put to one side. Add the chopped sausage, vegetables and half of the chicken stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. 2
- To make the roux put the rest of the oil in a clean pan and gradually add the flour. Stir on a medium to low heat for 5 minutes, then increase to a medium heat. This step takes patience as you must keep stirring. As the roux develops it should be thick and the colour of milk chocolate, which can take up to 30 minutes. Be careful not to burn it or you’ll have to start again. Do not stop stirring.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and stir for another 10 minutes.
- Now, using the bigger pot, bring everything together and simmer gently with the lid on. After an hour, remove most of the bones from the duck — to serve, I prefer to keep the legs on the bone — and return the duck meat to the pot.
- Season to taste and serve with freshly cooked rice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.
In 2012, I went on a voyage of discovery. The plan was to experience Louisiana — the Cajun connection, the people, the festivals and, of course, the incredible food. It was more than worth it.
Cajun cuisine is proper ‘grandma-style’ cooking, with French and Canadian influences creating rich, heart-warming fare using the available seasonal produce. The spices used are not normally found in French cooking, but the Cajuns do love a bit of heat. While there, I was lucky enough to connect with a family friend, who took me to their relatives’ house on the Bayou. For my welcome, they arranged a medley of freshly caught crab, crayfish and shrimp — or prawns to us Brits. The smell was incredible, with red potatoes, corn, onions and garlic all in a big pot of Cajun liquor, bubbling away until it was ready to be devoured from a large tray on the table. We all gathered round, simply grazing away with a beer or two while cracking open the crabs and peeling the shrimps.
A few days later, I came across a roadside restaurant on my travels. I had always wanted to try an authentic gumbo and so I grabbed the opportunity to do so on this occasion.
Gumbo is basically a broth with fresh fish or meat or sometimes both. Chicken and shrimp are very popular, as is sausage, usually andouille sausage. This particular gumbo was catfish and andouille. However, I know some good hunters out there who love wild duck gumbo, and that is what I chose to make recently, using wild mallard.