Cooking Louisiana  -  Poule d'eau Gumbo
Poule d' eau Gumbo (pronounced Pouldoo) [an old Traditional favorite especially around Houma, LA]

For many years when our sons were in school, we took vacation time when they had holiday time out of school. Until they finished school, we spent a week at the camp for Thanksgiving nearly every year. One of our sons loved to duck hunt and I made gumbo with duck every Thanksgiving until one year when he couldn’t get duck and brought back Poule d' eau instead. The duck lovers may argue, but pouldoo is now my favorite wild game bird for gumbo.

During Thanksgiving week, each day he would bring in a few of the small birds. Each day I would use the same broth to simmer the birds until tender and de-bone them, putting the meat in a plastic zip bag in the fridge and the broth back in the fridge until the next day. This created a wonderful rich broth to make the gumbo. This method also provides a good opportunity to skim off the chilled fat for a leaner more healthy gumbo but not much fat comes from these birds.

Thanksgiving Day Poule d' eau Gumbo.

¾ cup oil
1 cup plain flour
3 cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped celery
¾ cups chopped green peppers
4 to 6 quarts of Poule d' eau broth or chicken broth
3 to 4 quarts of cooked, de-boned Poule d' eau
salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup chopped green onion tops
½ cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon gumbo filet
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Cooked Rice

1. Using about a 10 quart black iron pot (or other large heavy pot), over medium heat whisk together the flour and oil. When the mixture starts to bubble, lower the fire to make a slow roux. Don’t forget to whisk now and then at first. You will have time now to chop all the seasonings.

2. When you’re through chopping, turn up the heat to medium on the roux and whisking often, brown it to the color of peanut butter or slightly darker. Add the onion, celery and green peppers all at once, switch to a spoon and thoroughly mix with the roux. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until the seasoning are very limp, stirring now and then to prevent sticking.

3. Add 1 or 2 quarts of broth, stir thoroughly to incorporate into the roux, cover and slow simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Add 2 or 3 more quarts of broth, add salt and pepper to taste, bring the pot back to a simmer, cover and slow simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Add the pouldoo and bring the pot back to simmer.

4. Add green onion tops and parsley, cover and turn off the fire. Let the pot cool for 15 or 20 minutes and sprinkle the filet over the top, do not stir, partially cover and allow the pot to cool another 20 or 30 minutes. Serve over hot rice with Louisiana Hot Sauce on the table.

Note: If cooking the raw birds in gumbo, after adding all the broth, add the birds and slow simmer for about 1 ½ hours or until the birds are tender. Proceed with #4.

Variations: Use chicken; chicken and smoke sausage; shrimp; shrimp and smoke sausage.

Tip: If you’re in a hurry to eat, don’t add the filet to the pot. Put the filet in a salt shaker and put it on the table for folks to add themselves to their bowl of gumbo. Stirring a hot gumbo with filet will make it slimy, that’s why the pot with filet needs the cooling time.

Tip: Gumbo freezes very well.

Serving: In South Louisiana, gumbo is traditionally served with French bread and potato salad. This big pot of gumbo will feed at least 12 or more people.

Submitted by C. Daigle - Bayou Blue, LA