With seven pheasants in the freezer that Henry, Cory and Camille, my brother Jim and niece Casey shot earlier this month (five at the Hunter's Garden Preserve in Speonk near Riverhead), I was looking forward to a few days of feasting on pheasant starting tonight with a pheasant gumbo that was inspired by the quintessential New Orlean's locavore, John Besh, using his gumbo recipes from his fabulous new coffee table worthy cookbook as a guidepost. Watch the video and see him make a gumbo starting at 2:52 seconds.
Our friends (and Henry's business partner), Peter and his family -- Theresa and Maddie Kate -- stopped by for a pre-Thanksgiving trip to the American Museum of Natural History to watch the blowing up of the enormous helium character balloons that are in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade followed by Day 1 of my three-day Pheasant Feast.
As with any good New Orleans recipe, for a gumbo "first you start with a ROUX"!
Long Island's Hunter's Garden Pheasant Gumbo (Sans Okra)-- with a nod to John Besh's My New Orleans: The Cookbook (Patrick's Thanksgiving Poule D'eau Gumbo recipe on page 270)
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1 cup duck fat (I got unlocavore and imported Rougie brand at Citarella)
1 cup flour
2 large yellow onions, diced
5 whole pheasant breasts, cut into 4 inch pieces (boneless, skinless)
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning Mix*
1 celery stalk, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
3 quarts homemade pheasant stock (or chicken stock) - I had 1 1/2 quarts of each
2 bay leaves
1 pound andouille sausage, chopped (I use Applegate Farms Organic Chicken Andouille Sausage)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
10-20 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
10-20 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1/3 cup of gumbo file
1/3 cup of gumbo file
Serve with 4-6 cups cooked white rice
1. Make a roux in a heavy pot. Heat duck fat using a high flame, then whisk the flour into the hot fat. Reduce the heat to medium. Immediately begin stirring with a whisk and continue stirring for about a half hour until the roux is a dark brown. Add the onions and keep on stirring on medium low heat now using a wooden spoon and cook for another 10 minutes.
2. Season the cut pheasant with the Creole Seasoning* Mix and add to the pot. Raise the heat back to medium and cook until the pheasant begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the bell peppers, garlic and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme, homemade stock and bay leaves. Raise heat until the stock begins to boil than lower to a simmer for 45 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to make sure the gumbo doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove any excess fat that comes to the surface.
4. Add the andouille sausage slices and the remainder of the seasonings, including gumbo file. Whisk until added ingredients are incorporated. Simmer for another 45 minutes, again removing any excess fat from the top.
5. Serve hot in bowls over cooked rice with warm French Bread on the side to soak up the gumbo gravy.