Duck Gumbo

Duck Gumbo

Duck Gumbo

A Louisiana favorite starring fresh duck makes a perfect recipe for hunters.

Servings

8-10

Prep time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

2 hours

Good For:

Dinner

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I asked my ladies of the Patrons & Peers group to share any recipes that would tie in well with my books, and this one was actually a particular request of mine. In ages past, duck hunting was the primary draw of visitors to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Ocracoke in particular. Knowing that member Candice and her husband are avid duck hunters in Texas and that this duck gumbo recipe is one of her favorites, I knew I wanted to share it with you!

One of the defining features of gumbo, a traditional Louisiana dish, is that it mixes multiple meats together into a spicy stew. This gumbo not only has duck breast, but also sausage. Then, of course, the veggies and thickened sauce. As with many thicker soups and sauces, it’s crucial to create the roux first to give your soup a thick, smooth base.

Recipe courtesy of Candice and Steven Woods

Ingredients

Instructions

For the roux

  • ½ cup flour (can substitute with gluten free flour)
  • ½ cup of avocado oil (can use any other oil or bacon drippings, note that coconut oil isn’t preferred)

For the gumbo

  • 12-24 duck breasts (about 6 big ducks, ex. Mallards, for a total of 12 big duck breast, or 10 small ducks, ex. Teal, for a total of 20 small duck breast – you can always combine the two.)
  • 24 oz Andouille sausage (2 packages, Cajun holler is our preferred brand)
  • 6 sticks celery
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 3 bell peppers, red and/or green
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (our favorite is Crystal Louisiana’s)
  • Nature’s Seasons seasoning blend
  • Browning seasoning
  • Rice (white, brown, cauliflower – whatever you prefer)
  1. Make the roux. For the roux add flour and cooking oil to your pot. Stir constantly for 20-30 minutes until a rich amber color forms. This is the base of your gumbo and what gives it richness.
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  2. Once the roux has reached is dark amber color, slowly add in 4 cups of broth, ensure the thickness stays.
    .
  3. Once roux is done, tenderize and cut duck into bite sized pieces. In a pan, add just enough oil to cover the pan then add duck, browning seasoning and natures seasoning to taste. For us its about 1/2 to 1 tablespoons of browning seasoning and 1-2 tablespoons of nature’s seasoning. Cook until duck is medium rare. Remove duck and place in pot with roux.
    .
  4. Cut andouille sausage into round bite size pieces. Add browning seasoning, and natures seasoning to taste, about the same amount as the duck. Cook until sausage in the pan is done and add to the pot.
    .
  5. Add chopped celery, onion, bell pepper, browning seasoning, and natures seasoning (to taste). sauté veggies in the pan. Add 3 cloves of garlic chopped, then cook for 30 more seconds. Add to pot.
    .
  6. Once everything is in the pot add water until liquid just covers everything in the pot.
    .
  7. Bring to a boil then let simmer for at least 1 hr.
    .
  8. Enjoy over cooked rice (add in extra hot sauce too!)

 

Notes:

If using wild ducks be cognizant of birdshot, it can chip a tooth in a heartbeat if you’re not careful.

You can make it your own. Try experimenting with different seasonings and the amounts and types of onions and peppers to see what you like the best. This is just what we like best.

From the Books

With Grann from Yesterday’s Tides cooking, being from Louisiana as she is, you can be sure gumbo would have been on the menu at the Ocracoke Inn; and duck gumbo would have been a staple, given that duck hunting was the primary tourist draw of the island in the early twentieth century.

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Authentic Fish and Chips

Authentic Fish and Chips

Authentic Fish and Chips

Crispy fried fish fillets and homemade french fries (chips) deliver authentic, delicious taste!

Servings

4

Prep time:

30 minutes

Total Time:

1.5 hours

Good For:

Dinner

Inroduction

About this Recipe

When we visited England, we went to several different regions, and my husband’s experiment was to try fish and chips in each of them. His goal: to find the best fish and chips in the country.

I don’t know that he was satisfied with his results, but when we came home, I made it my mission to find an authentic recipe that even I, who don’t love fish, would like. And I found one! This adaptation of that recipe features beer-battered fish (don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off, but it lends the batter a lightness from the fizz and a yeasty flavor) and twice-fried chips (that’s how you get the soft-and-crisp texture we so love). If you want it REALLY authentic, serve it with a side of mushy peas!

Ingredients

For the Fish:

  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 7 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1 pinch black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dark beer, cold
  • 1/3 cup sparkling water, cold
  • 4 (7-ounce) fish fillets (choose a thick, white fish like cod, pollock, or haddock, the fresher the better)
  •  milk, for soaking fish if it isn’t very fresh (optional)

For the Chips:

  • 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1 quart/1 liter vegetable oil (or lard), for frying
  1. If you live in a landlocked region like I do and “fresh” fish has those quotation marks around it, soak the fillets in milk for an hour first to take some of the “fishiness” out of it. If you’re using actual FRESH fish (yay!), no need for soaking.
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  2. Set aside 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix the remaining flour with the cornstarch and baking powder in a very large bowl. Add the paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
    .
  3. Whisk in the beer and the sparkling water to the flour mixture, whisking continually until you have a thick, smooth batter. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
    .
  4. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into ½ inch by ½ inch sticks. Put them into a colander and rinse under cold running water.
    .
  5. Place the rinsed chips into a pot of cold water. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
    .
  6. Drain carefully through a colander, then use paper towels to dry them more. Keep in the fridge covered with paper towels until needed.
    .
  7. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry with paper towels. Season lightly with a little sea salt.
    .
  8. Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep-fat fryer or large, deep pot. Cook the chips a few handfuls at a time for about 2 minutes. Do not brown them. Once the chips are slightly cooked, remove them from the oil and drain. Set aside.
    .
  9. Place the 2 tablespoons of reserved flour into a shallow dish. Toss each fish fillet in the flour and shake off any excess.
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  10. Dip into the batter, coating the entire fillet.
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  11. Carefully lower each fillet into the hot oil (make sure it’s still at 350 first). Fry for about 8 minutes, turning the fish a couple times, until the batter is crisp and golden.
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  12. Once cooked, remove the fillets from the hot oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
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  13. Heat the oil to 400, add the chips back in, and cook until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain. Season with salt.
    .
  14. Serve immediately with the hot fish.

From the Books

Fish and chips is mentioned explicitly only in To Treasure an Heiress, but many of my characters who live in or visit coastal regions would have enjoyed them!

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Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

Fully customizable to suit your family’s tastes!

Servings

9

Prep time:

10 min

Total Time:

45 minutes

Good For:

Breakfast

Inroduction

About this Recipe

I love oatmeal…but sometimes the mushy texture of stovetop or microwave versions aren’t what I have in mind. I fell in love with baked oatmeal at a writers’ conference in Pennsylvania and tried for years to replicate the delicious dish.

I finally found a base recipe that turned out how I wanted in terms of texture, and from there I tweaked to suit my family’s tastes. We use Swerve Brown to cut down on our sugar intake without compromising on sweet or that rich brown sugar taste. Each family member can then customize to tastemy daughter will add maple syrup and milk, I’ll add sugar-free syrup and peanut butter and milk, my husband will do some fresh fruit. You can add those stir-ins into the recipe itself and bake them in, or make your additions right in your own bowl.

Ingredients

Instructions

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ cups milk (dairy or plant-based)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sweetener—maple syrup, brown sugar, or Swerve Brown all work great
  • ¼ cup (half stick) butter, melted
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup stir-ins like fresh berries, chopped nuts, or chocolate chips (optional)

 

For Banana Variation

  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • Decrease to 1 cup milk (rather than 1 ½ cups)
  • Everything else as above

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Prepare. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish or a 2-qt oblong dish.
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  2. Whisk (and mash, if relevant). If you’re doing the banana variation, mash up your bananas and then move to the whisking; if you’re doing plain or fresh fruit variations, go straight to whisking together milk, eggs, sweetener, butter, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
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  3. Mix in the oats. If you’re using any stir-ins like berried, nuts, or chocolate chips, stir them in last.
    .
  4. Pour. Pour the oats mixture into your prepared baking dish and smooth the top.
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  5. Bake. For 30-40 minutes or until it’s set and no longer wet-looking.
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  6. Serve. Let cool for 5 minutes and then cut into squares. Serve with milk, syrup, honey, or whatever strikes your fancy. My family loves adding a bit of peanut butter and syrup to the base recipe and then pouring milk overtop!

From the Books

Breakfasts weren’t often mentioned in Yesterday’s Tides,
but this oatmeal would have been on the table at the inn, for sure!

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Creamy Chicken and Dumplings

Creamy Chicken and Dumplings

Creamy Chicken and Dumplings

Egg noodle drop dumplings take the stage in a thick and creamy sauce.

Servings

16

Prep time:

30 min

Total Time:

1.5 hours

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

One of my favorite meals has long been Chicken and Dumplings, made from a recipe that appeared in my church cookbook when I was a kid. I’ve tried many other recipes over the years, but I always go back to these dense egg noodle dumplings in this hearty, creamy sauce.

Now, I admit it. My favorite version of the sauce is the one made from canned Cream of Chicken soup and evaporated milk. But if you’re a clean-eating, no-canned-soup kind of family, the from-scratch sauce recipe is just as tasty and only takes a few minutes longer.

Ingredients

Instructions

For the Dumplings

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk

Easy-Peasy Sauce (Option 1)

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 can water
  • 1 can milk

From Scratch Sauce (Option 2)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon OR 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For Chicken

    • 1 pound chicken, cooked
  1. Make the dumplings. Fill large pot about halfway full with water and put on to boil. While the water heats, mix together your dumpling ingredients. The dough should be wet and sticky. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, drop by spoonful into the boiling water. (They come off the spoon most easily if you put the spoon into the water and give it a shake). Cook for 20 minutes.
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  2. Cook your chicken. If you’re using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut them into cubes and brown in a chicken fryer, salting and peppering to taste. You can also use shredded chicken if you have some leftover from a roast or rotisserie. Just as good! Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan.
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  3. Make the sauce. Using the same pan in which you’d cooked the chicken, melt the butter and then add the flour, whisking to create a thick paste. Add in your liquid ingredients and whisk until smooth. If you’re making your sauce from scratch, add the spices once it’s smooth.
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  4. Drain the dumplings and combine. Once the dumplings are cooked, drain them in a colander. Add dumplings and your chicken to the sauce and stir.

From the Books

Chicken and Dumplings may not be mentioned in Yesterday’s Tides, but you can bet their Southern table would feature it now and again! Given the popular duck hunting on the islands at the time, the ladies probably would have substituted the water fowl for the chicken when they had fresh meat too.

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Classic French Baguette

Classic French Baguette

Classic French Baguette

Delicious, crusty loaves made in the traditional fashion.

Servings

12

Prep time:

30 min

Total Time:

14 hours (overnight)

Good For:

Bread

Inroduction

About this Recipe

If there’s anything better than a classic, crusty baguette, I’ve yet to find it. These long loaves are delicious (that overnight rise lets the flavors do some amazing things!), versatile, and provide a sensory experience that softer breads just can’t aspire to. Smother them with butter, broil some deli meat and cheese on them for lunch, dip in spiced olive oil for an appetizer, or top with honey or jam for a sweet treat.

Traditional baguettes are made using a baker’s couche—thick fabric that holds its shape, encouraging the loaves to rise how you want them to without spreading into each other. You can also use shaped baguette pans, or, if you don’t have any of that, just tear off a long piece of parchment paper, leaving plenty of room between each loaf and then pulling the paper up between them. If you have a digital scale, measure your ingredients by weight instead of volume for more accuracy.

The real secret to that crusty baguette, though, is putting a pan of boiling water in the oven with the bread. The steam is the key to the crust!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 500 grams / 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 360 grams / 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    .
  2. Work the dough. Sprinkle a little more flour on the dough so you can work with it, then stretch and turn the dough, folding it onto itself. Flip it upside down. Do this three times over the course of about 90 minutes.
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  3. With the bowl covered again, let it rest on the counter overnight, or for 12-14 hours.
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  4. The next morning, divide the dough into two or three rectangles. Cover with a towel and let them rest for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
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  5. Pre-heat your oven to 500. To get the oven good and hot, start the heat cycle while the dough is resting, especially if you’re baking on a baking stone (which is recommended). You need two oven racks for this process; the top one will hold your bread. On the bottom rack, you’ll be putting a pan filled with boiling water. The steam it makes gives the baguette its classic crust.
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  6. Shape the dough. Stretch each rectangle and fold into a cylinder. Seal the seams and put it seam-down on parchment paper, baguette pans, or a couche. Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes.
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  7. Score the loaves. With a sharp knife, make diagonal cuts in each loaf.
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  8. Add water to oven. Fill a pan (an 8×8 or loaf pan works great) with boiling water and slide it onto the bottom rack of the oven.
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  9. Bake. Decrease oven to 475 and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the water, decrease temp to 450, and bake another 15 minutes.

From the Books

With her French influence, Evie loves to introduce some Continental favorites into the menu of the inn. Though not mentioned explicitly, you can be sure that French baguettes were a favorite loaf at her table!

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Ocracoke Fig Cake

Ocracoke Fig Cake

Ocracoke Fig Cake

An island classic, traditionally using fig preserves made from locally grown fruit.

Servings

16

Prep time:

30 min

Total Time:

1.5 hours

Good For:

Dessert

Inroduction

About this Recipe

Each year on Ocracoke, the village hosts a Fig Festival. During this celebration, locals and visitors alike enjoy all manner of treats made from the locally grown figs. Fig cake always features prominently, made with fig preserves, which can be found in shops all over the island. (If you can’t make it to Ocracoke to get their locally jarred preserves, try Braswell’s!)

Eating lower sugar or sugar free? Substitute the granulated sugar with All Purpose In the Raw or another sugar alternative and enjoy the taste without the calories or the blood sugar spikes! Don’t have buttermilk? Start with a tablespoon of lemon juice and then fill the rest of the 1/2 cup with regular milk and let it sit for a minute to sour.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups sugar or sugar alternative
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups fig preserves
  • 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Prepare. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan, either smooth-sided or fluted.
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  2. Mix wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil and mix well. Pour in buttermilk and continue to mix.
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  3. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and spices. Set aside.
    .
  4. Dissolve baking soda in warm water.
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  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add in baking soda and vanilla. Finally, stir in the fig preserves and nuts.
    .
  6. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before taking out of pan.

From the Books

Fig cake is mentioned several times in Yesterday’s Tides. As one of the island’s most distinctive recipes, each family has their own favorite version, and Serena at the Ocracoke Inn is no exception!

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