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Cooking Wild Game Animals.. tips or recipes?(Goose, venison, turkey)

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi all,  I'm an avid hunter and I'm looking to experiment a little.  My family lacks culinary skills but I've grown up to enjoy casual venison meals and rabbit dishes.. nothing out of the ball park by any means.  Ive never worked under a chef that has used wild game and the few times I've done something it has come out a bit gamey (turkey and goose).  I have a week off for the new years so I'll be waking up early every morning to take my limit of goose and hopefully score a duck or two sometime this season.

Does anyone have experience working with wild game?  It's a shame that my parents can't cook.. my father, myself and my uncles all hunt various seasons: deer, waterfowl, rabbit, pheasant, and turkey.. generally all of our kills go to the hands of my uncle who's a very talented cook.  But now I'm able to stock fridge and freezer with some hopefully good meat.

any chance of getting the gameyness out of these foods?

post #2 of 29

You eat wild game for its' flavor.

Wild game tastes "gamey."

Why is it so many people don't care for that flavor and try to "cook it out?"

 

 

post #3 of 29

If I can get game, I put it on the menu and it's quite popular

 

Impala steak (the good bits)

Impala in red wine (sort of an impala bourgignon, from the slightly tougher bits)

Kudu (similar prep as the impala, or I go towards the Flamande style, with beer)

Rabbit in mustard sauce

Warthog or bush pig stew

 

unfortunately it is hard to come by and expensive (and you can only sell it if you can show the wildlife department that you have paid for your license)

 

Wish I could get more of the stuff !!!!

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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post #4 of 29

I kind of agree with Chefross.  In this day and age of mass produced, flavorless meat and poultry the gaminess of wild game is a nice wake up call for the taste buds and I would never want to "cook the gaminess" out of it.  That said, there are ways lessen the impact of wild games flavor and that is usually done by pairing with foods and flavors that can match its intensity or complement it.  When I am cooking wild game I often pair it with "earthy" flavored foods such as mushrooms, red wine, root vegetables and herbs like rosemary, sage, and/or thyme.  Foods like these can stand up to the flavor of wild game and help to lessen its flavor impact.  It doesn't necessarily "mask" its flavor as much as lessen the intensity by complementing it, if that makes any sense.

post #5 of 29

Game is beautiful thing to cook. I love it. Game meat is so juicy, full of flavor. I love to braise or stew game for hours, that released so much flavour to its own juice and that´s so delicious. I agree with PETE, combination with earthy flavours is priceless. But I love to experiment and combine game with different ingredients and flavours. But game must taste like nature, forest. Using forest herbs, spices and forest fruit is great complement for gaminess. And on the other side, tropical fruit si perfect as well...you can´t never run out of ideas, when you cook game.

post #6 of 29

Game is bad for you, GarretJames. Best bet is to freeze it, put it in coolers, and ship them down to me for proper disposal. wink.gif

 

Seriously, it would take an encyclopedia to answer your question. Every game animal is different; indeed, for any animal there are several choices as to how you prep and cook it. If you could focus a little tighter, we could better address your concerns.

 

Your uncle is probably your best resource. Why not ask him for some tips; and perhaps spend time in the kitchen with him?

 

Meanwhile, here are some random thoughts that you might find useful.

 

1. I don't understand what people mean by the word "gamey." Sure, wild animals have stronger flavors than their domestic analogs. That's one of the things that makes them specal. But, as often happens, when the same people who love lamb and mutton complain that venison is gamey, I get lost. To me, lamb is gamey.

     Much of this depends, too, on what the animal has been eating. A bluebill that's been eating fish tastes differently than one that's been eating wild rice. A grain-fed deer is a different animal than one who's been eating red acorns. And so on.

 

2. The longer it takes to dress a game animal, the stronger it will taste. And even dressed out, it will get high if you subscribe to the "hanging" theory. Game should be dressed and cooled as soon as possible.

 

3. You're in New York, so I'm assuming Canadas, rather than Snows or Blues. Canada Geese are the strongest tasting of that clan, and should be thought of as red meat for cooking purposes. That is, don't cook it more than medium rare, and sauce appropriately. And, while a whole roast goose is really dramatic, there isn't enough meat in the legs, etc. to matter. Most hunters merely breast out the birds.

 

4. In all cases, game has less fat than it's domestic analogs. So it's easy to overcook. Watch your heat levels and timing. And, more often than not, bacon is your friend, as it adds the missing fat and keeps the game moist.


Edited by KYHeirloomer - 1/2/12 at 11:48am
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 29

Garrett, do not try to get gaminess out of that meat. Do you want to get lamb specific flavour out of lamb? I hope not, because that makes that meat so different and interesting...peace.gif

post #8 of 29

To get you started, here is a recipe to use some of those geese:

 

Broiled (or Grilled) Goose Breast with Cumberland Sauce

 

Breast out one goose, removing the skin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and brush with vegetable oil.

 

Broil the breasts, 4 inches from the heat, turning once, until desired degree of doneness. Rare will be reached after about five minutes per side.

 

Slice the breasts thinly, against the grain, and serve with Cumberland Sauce.

 

Cumberland Sauce

 

1 orange

1 lemon

3 shallots, chopped fine

1/2 cup currant jelly

1/4 cup port wine

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

Pinch cayenne

1 tsp Dijon mustard

 

Remove the rinds from the orange and lemon with a vegetable peeler, scraping off any of the white pith. Chop the rinds finely and boil five minutes. Drain and set aside.

 

Boil shallots in water to cover for one minute. Drain and set aside.

 

Squeeze the juice from the orange and one third of the lemon. Put the juices in a small saucepan with the jelly, port, ginger, cayenne, and mustard. Heat until the jelly melts. Add the rinds and shallots.

 

Can be used either hot or cold.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 29

KYH I love Cumberland Sauce with goose. That's something I've done in the past. 

I cook a lot of wild game here.

The boss just came back from the Northwest Territories with a beautiful elk and the freezer is filled with all kinds of steaks, chops and what not.

I use the backstrap as I would filet  and grind my own tougher parts for pates, sausages, and just to have some around for loaf and burgers.

I cut the meat with pork shoulder or butt.

 

Deer hunting season....same thing..

In the fall the boss buys live pheasants and chukers ( a member of the quail family but bigger ) from a farm down below and have them brought up here and released on the farm where I live.

Next day the guys go out and hunt the pheasants....and I end up having to pluck, clean, and process them. 

I do this all year through, and I have lots of experience cooking the meats.

 

KYH is correct about the many flavors the game can have.

Here on the island the meat tastes like garlic and wild onions because that's what we have an abundance of growing here.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys I appreciate the responses.  I understand that it is silly to cook out the gameyness in wild meat.  It's something that I don't have a problem with.. I like it all.  In my position at work I get to throw specials together so I was kind of thinking in terms of others coming into the restaurant.. how could I cook the meats to interest others that aren't as familiar with game.  You guys have brought up good points with matching flavors and probably the most important thing is to not overcook it.  Ive goose hunted for four years but soley for the fun, giving meat away to family.  The few times I've tried it, I was turned off mainly because of it being much too cooked.  Previous hunting seasons my passion for cooking hasn't been quite as alive as it is now so I'm excited to try it out. 

post #11 of 29

 I love Cumberland Sauce with goose.

 

Don't we all, ChefRoss! I provided that recipe both because it's delicious, and simple enough for someone like the OP to prepare. When making it myself, btw, I add some Grand Marnier to the sauce.

 

When I was more active as an outdoor writer we just about lived on game and self-harvested fish & seafood. By boys were in their teens, in fact, before they knew what beef and chicken tasted like. And they were disappointed with both.

 

At any particular time the freezers would contain venison, rabbit, upland birds of all types, turkey, and all sorts of waterfowl; including puddle ducks, divers, and sea ducks. Sometimes, when my travels were successful, there'd be elk, antelope, and bear as well.  Note the absence of squirrel, though. While I love 'em, Friend Wife thinks of them as rats that live in trees, and refuses to eat them. Alas.

 

We still eat a lot of game, here.

 

 In the fall the boss buys live pheasants and chukers ( a member of the quail family but bigger )

 

FWIW, chuker are partridges, rather than quail. Not that that matters on the table; they're one of the tastiest upland birds, IMO, running second only to Ruffed Grouse.

 

One advantage of butchering your own is that you get cuts that the processors don't bother with. F'rinstance, the short ribs from that elk would have made a spectacular meal. And the front legs, cut crosswise, make an osso bucco to die for.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 29

BTW, GarretJames, we've had several discussion about game cooking in the past. You might want to try the search engine to find some of them.

 

This one, I think, is particularly pertinent: http://www.cheftalk.com/t/954/i-have-two-goose-breasts-any-ideas

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #13 of 29

 

@ Garrett, @ Chefross, @ KY, and All those interested in the thread on Elk from Chefross ( cannot find it ) :

 

Here is a lovely Venison Recipe which would work for Elk certainly :

 

Juniper Berry and Peppercorn Rubbed Elk or Deer Sirlion ...

1 / 2 Inch Thick sirlion Elk Steaks

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

1 medium sweet onion

4 sweet potatoes or yams chopped in large cubes

kosher salt

3 or 4 cloves garlic

Peppercorns in all colors

Juniperberry herb fresh if possible

 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit

2. preheat grill or barbecue

3. Rub both sides of the steaks with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, all colors of peppercorns and juniper berry and let them stand on tray 30 minutes ( a dry marinade )

4. place the sweet yams on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with a bit of salt and a sprig of fresh rosemary or other herbs of your choice

5. Bake the yams

6. Sauté the garlic and onion with 2 tblsps of extra virgin olive oil

7. Brush the garlic and onion mixture onto the elk steaks and grill to medium rare

 

Margcata.

 

There is a Canadian website which specialises in recipes for venison varieties:  www.venisonmeat.com

 

 

post #14 of 29

 

@ KY,

 

Your Cumberland Sauce sounds lovely. I shall have to try it on a variety of feathered game which is very popular in Castilla La Mancha and parts of Northern Spain ... Partridge, pheasant, quail, woodcock ( becada ) and guinea fowl ( pintada ). Goose is not very common here, however, wild duck is.

 

I believe it would work.

post #15 of 29

Margcata, I would go easy using Cumberland Sauce on upland birds. They tend to be delicate, and the sauce might overpower their flavor.

 

I can see it with woodcock, though, which are strong enough to stand up to the sauce. And perhaps guinea fowl if you stick with older birds. It's really better with waterfowl overall.

 

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 29

 

 @ KY,

 

Just received your advice note. Thanks. I hadn´t thought profoundly on subject, just really like the  ingredients in Cumberland sauce.

 

I guess, we have to figure out how to get a Goose !  Actually it should not be that hard in Northern Spain, Navarra as they have a Foie Gras Designation and raise ducks and geese. Have to do some research and / or perhaps, a Chef that I know, might have some means to get a small goose for a Cumberland tasting !

 

 

post #17 of 29

just really like the  ingredients in Cumberland sauce.

 

What's not to like? But, as always, you have to look for a balance of flavors. And this one just works best with stronger tasting birds.

 

But to make up for it, here's a really nice recipe for partridge:

 

Peter's Partridge

 

1 partridge

Butter

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large bunch seedless white grapes

1 jigger brandy

1 pint heavy cream

 

Melt butter in a skillet and brown the bird over high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff the partridge with grapes and place in a buttered casserole. Add more grapes until the bird is covered. Top with a tablespoon of butter, cover the casserole, and put it in a 375F oven for about 25 minutes, basting from time to time with the grape liquid. Add the brandy just before removing the bird from the oven. 

 

Set the bird aside. Boil down the grapes, juice, and bird drippings until thick. Stir in the cream and cook to desired consistency.

 

BTW, a cazeula works ideally for this if you butterfly the bird first, so that you can cover it with the grapes. Put a layer of grapes down first, then the bird, breast side up, then continue as above.

 

Is wild rice available in Spain? It's a naturally mate to upland birds. Indeed, with all upland birds, if you prepare them using things they eat as ingredients you can't go wrong.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #18 of 29

 

@ KY.

 

 

White grapes, Brandy and Cream ... Partridge ... Sounds very lovely.

 

I shall be doing the Norwegian Salmon with Tennessee Malt Whiskey Jack Daniels on the 7th and then on Sunday the 8th, the Partridge ... Thanks for all the advice.

 

 

 

 

post #19 of 29

GarrettJ, you could make lots of game stock from your hunted birds, reduce it and store it in your freezer in ready to use portions. It's the perfect base for nearly all sauces you will make!

Many times only the breasts and thighs are used. All the rest; neck, drumsticks, backbones and all other bones, liver, estomachs... aren't served.

 

Simply fry them in a large pan for quite a long time (20-30 minutes) on medium heat on the stovetop, or, for large quantities in an oventray and let them get a nice brown coloring. Then add a "mirepoix" of coarsely cut carrot, celery, onion. Let fry for another while. Then transfer everything into a large cookingpot and merely submerge entirely with cold water. Add a few whole black peppercorns, thyme, laurelleaf, 2 cloves, a few juniperberries and just a very little salt. Let simmer very gently, uncovered, for at least an hour, or many hours more if you like. Even after a good hour you will already have a good light saucebase but best to let it simmer the whole afternoon. Sieve and let reduce this light stock on high fire. It's now ready to use as a saucebase or to portion and put in the freezer.

 

You can use this in so many sauces wether creamsauses or sweet ones etc. Even in both lovely sauces KY mentions (Cumberland and the Partridge recipe), I guess even KY would agree that half a cup of this stock added and reduced together with KY's mentioned ingredients would be fantastic.

 

I made this great sauce last week for magret de canard (duck breast) from the french Landes region. This is not a wild bird! This sauce is also heaven with venison (even if the game stock is made with birds only!!) etc.

 

Simply have a small cup of good red wine and the same amount of port wine and let reduce on mediumhigh fire together with a handfull of blackberries. Let reduce untill merely 2-3 tbsp of fluid left and looks like syrup. Then add a cup of the stock I just discribed and let reduce to half. S&BlackPepper to taste. Just before serving, cut a tbsp worth of COLD butter -yes, hard butter, straight from the fridge- and put in the sauce. Shake the pan gently untill the butter disappears. This will thicken the sauce a little and make it glossy. You can sieve the blackberries out if you like, I didn't, the sauce looks more rustic. Enjoy!

 

magret2.jpg

 

post #20 of 29

I guess even KY would agree that half a cup of this stock added and reduced together with KY's mentioned ingredients would be fantastic.

 

In the Cumberland Sauce I would reduce the stock first, Chris. With the grape thing, either way. But as to the flavor, sure, why not!

 

Your blackberry sauce would go perfectly with wildfowl. The birds have to be cooked differently, is all. But the sauce is a great match.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #21 of 29

>In my position at work I get to throw specials together so I was kind of thinking in terms of others coming into the restaurant.. how could I cook the meats to interest others that aren't as familiar with game. <

 

Whoa! Don't do it!

 

I somehow missed this post; possibly because ours crossed at the time.

 

It is illegal to sell wild game in this country. Waterfowl, particularly, are a big target, and if word goes out the Feds will be visiting you. Fines are high, and jail time is a possibility.

 

When game is offered in American restaurants it is farm raised, not harvested in the wild, as is true in Europe and Great Britain.

 

So tread very lightly in this area

 

 

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

>In my position at work I get to throw specials together so I was kind of thinking in terms of others coming into the restaurant.. how could I cook the meats to interest others that aren't as familiar with game. <

 

Whoa! Don't do it!

 

I somehow missed this post; possibly because ours crossed at the time.

 

It is illegal to sell wild game in this country. Waterfowl, particularly, are a big target, and if word goes out the Feds will be visiting you. Fines are high, and jail time is a possibility.

 

When game is offered in American restaurants it is farm raised, not harvested in the wild, as is true in Europe and Great Britain.

 

So tread very lightly in this area

 

 

 

 


Some years back I took some venison I had harvested to the chef at the golf club we were managing for an employee meal, which was always a treat for the staff.  He was pretty talented and I was (selfishly) interested in how he would prepare it.  When I arrived for lunch on the day he prepared it I was shocked to see it was our daily special, and several patrons had already purchased it. , I chased them all down and returned their money.  We at least created some goodwill.

 

 

 


 

 

post #23 of 29

Good move on your part, Old Pro, as it shows intent and covers your butt.

 

But if the Feds had found out, and the enforcement people had a wild hair up their asses (as is often true with FWS) then just the fact it was offered for sale could have been interpreted as an offense. As you, me, and every other waterfowler knows, FWS starts on the premise that all sport hunters are outlaws, and proceeds from there.

 

On the other hand, if it had been recieved by the members so well, I'd have been looking into farm-raised venison to put on the menu more regularly.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #24 of 29

A hunter friend of my son fried a turkey over the holidays, which is becoming a staple in our neck of the woods.  He also happened to have a couple of plucked gadwalls handy.  He injected them and seasoned them like the turkey, and did the deep fry bit on them as well.  Accoring to him, hey were outstanding.  My son shot a specklebelly recently, and plucked it with the intent of deep frying it as well.  We're waiting on a family occasion to try it out.  I'll report in later on the results.

 

KY, we still love your ginger sauce on ducks.  My son recently prepared some sandhill crane with a Raichlen recipe for beef satay and said he will definitely do it again.  I plan on using your ginger sauce as a dipping sauce for them as well. 

post #25 of 29

I'm trying to imagine how long one would leave a duck---or even that speck---in the deep fryer without it drying out. Were it me, I'd save the speck for the ginger sauce recipe. But, let's face it, if the gads don't work out they're more easily replaced.

 

I like the idea of a satay made with waterfowl. I'll have to give that a try soon as possible. Occurs to me if I ever get back to NC for swan, that would be a perfect way of preparing it.

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #26 of 29

 

@ KY,

 

The Partridges came out to die for ... lovely. The gent friend almost literally licked his plate clean ... ha ha

 

Thanks again for the recipe. I shall add to my personal repertoire of recipes collected.

 

December and early January are game season, hoofed game and pineapple season. The Canary Islands produce pineapple for 4 to 5 months out of the year. Aromatic and refresing after a meal of Partridge. Just served a simple salad afterwards, as most Italians do. Now it is back to a cornucopia of baby veggies and salads as after the holidays, one feels so stuffed.

 

Appreciate ur help.

Margcata.   

post #27 of 29

I'm so glad it worked out for you. It's incredible that such a simple dish to prepare can turn out so elegantly.

 

Have you ever tried grilling those pineapples?

 

With hooved game in season, another simple dish is to use venison in a cottage pie. Basically, follow any Shepard's Pie recipe, subbing venison for the lamb, and add a few powdered juniper berries to the sauce.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #28 of 29

One of the best ways to prepare geese is in a gumbo.  While most of my experience is in snows and specklebellies as opposed to greater Canadas, you can bet older geese will tend to be on the tough side regardless of species.  I make a stock with the mature birds, which requires a 3 to 4 hour simmering with the onions, celery, bay leaves, carrot, garlic cloves, peppercorns, etc.  If you wish, add some chicken thighs for the last hour. 

 

I no longer prepare the roux from scratch, although you certainly can.  The commercial brands like Kary's or Dougets dark roux are excellent, and most cajuns have them in their pantry today.  I strain about four quarts of the stock into my gumbo pot and bring it to a boil, then add the roux, following the directions for proportions.  Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add seasoning at this point.  A couple of tablespoons of Tony Chachere's, Slap Ya Mama (my choice in the white pepper version), or any other Cajun seasoning or mixture of your choice will work. This is a dish that you need to constantly check your seasoning for taste.   Add the trinity (chopped celery, onions, and bell peppers),  usually about a generous cup of each, and simmer for an hour.  Add a large link of smoked sausage cut in 3/4 inch slices, such as andouille (sic), or any smoked sausage you fancy  Add the boned, cubed goose (and chicken). I also add cut okra at this point, but this is optional.  It is a great thickener.  I float a whole fresh jalapeno or serrano or two at this point, which I leave in the pot until serving time..  Simmer gently for about 45 minutes. 

 

During the last ten minutes of cooking, I bring the gumbo back to a hard simmer.  I add oysters and some of their juice,  and fresh shrimp (25-30 count, shelled and deveined).  This is usually a pint or so of oysters, and 3/4 pound of shrimp.  Serve over rice with gumbo file', parsley, and sliced green onions on the side, and Tabasco or Louisianna Hot Sauce.  Crusty French bread for sure..

 

Everyone that cooks gumbo has their own recipe. I prefer mine to have a more stew like consistency as opposed to being thin.  I like a meaty gumbo, so I throw a couple of geese in the pot for starters. This is a dish that freezes well if any is left over.  It is generally better the second or third day.  I'll usually add some fresh seafood for the reheatings to liven it up a bit.  

 

 

post #29 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks guy! Good info

 

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