If you told me that I was only allowed to cook one dish for the rest of my life what would it be? The answer for me is simple: Gumbo.

Gumbo is probably the most versatile dish out there; no other dish can be so easily modified for every type of wild game. At its most basic. there are are peppers, onion, and celery with a dark nutty roux. After that you are able to pretty much add what it is you want to it.

Lets start with the roux, a roux is nothing more that flour and oil. What kind of oil is a matter of personal predilection. Many like to use peanut oil or butter. I like to use canola oil, but it truly doesnt matter. What matters is how dark you want your roux to be.

When you mix you flour and oil and heat it up it will start out like a thick paste. That paste then turns into a light blonde, slightly less thick paste. If all you want to do is thicken stock to make a gravy or soup base, then this is all the further you need to go.

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However, if you want make a darker, richer stew or gumbo then you should probably crack a brew or three because youre going to be here for awhile. The longer you cook a roux, the darker it will get but you cant just leave a roux on the stave and walk away It must continue to be stirred often or it will burn and ruin the flavor.

If you want to make a dark, chocolate-colored roux, you might be standing over the stave for an hour or more. For this gumbo I stirred my roux until it was the colour of peanut butter and that took about 45 minutes. You might be seduced to turn the hot up high and try to rushed the process but that usually ends with a burnt roux.

Medium-low heat with frequent stirring is the way to run. Once you have your roux induced the rest of this dish is a piece of cake. You will need the holy trinity of cajun cook: onions, celery and peppers. I use a 4-1-1 ratio of 4 cups of onions to 1 cup each of celery and green peppers. Depending on your savours, you can add more or less of each and as much garlic as you want. I employed six cloves.

What you add to your gumbo is also a matter of personal predilection. I have induced gumbo with chicken and sausage and I have also made gumbo with muskrat and beaver. If you’re use small game of any type of game bird, violate them down into one-quarters and use the whole one-quarter with the bones in. You will get a better product in the end. If you’re use venison, elk or any other big game animal, just cube the meat up into 2-inch pieces. The cooking period for your gumbo is about two hours on a low simmer and any meat you put in will be fall-off-the-bone tender by the time its done.

Rabbit and Squirrel Gumbo

  • 1 rabbit, cut into pieces
  • 1 squirrel, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/ 4 cup oil
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 quarts wild game stock or chicken stock
  • 1 can( 10 oz) Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 1 pound andouille sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups smoked ham cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning( or your favorite cajun spice mixture )
  • 2 cups chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • In a large skillet, add some oil and start browning the sausage and the rabbit and squirrel pieces. The game meat doesnt have to be cooked all the way through just a nice brown on the outside. Cut vegetables into a 1/4 -inch dice and have ready to go.

    Start inducing your roux. Add the flour and oil to a great stock pot and stir over medium-low heat until it reaches a peanut butter coloring. You can go darker if you would like. Once the roux reaches the coloring you want, add the onion, celery, pepper, garlic, and the cajun flavouring. Cook for 5 minutes. After five minutes, add all of the meat, herbs and tomatoes. Add the stock. Stir to combine and then bring back up to a boil.

    Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for two hours or until the meat is tender. Savour your gumbo and season as desired.

    Add the green onions and parsley, encompas and simmer five minutes.

    Serve this with cooked white rice and your favorite hot sauce. I dont add a lot of heat to the gumbo so that everyone can add their own.

    Serves 10 -1 2 people.

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