One of the best things about this time of year is that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the World Championship of Duck Gumbo. It’s a HUGE cookoff held every year in Stuttgart, Arkansas as part of the Wings Over the Prairie Festival. There’s lots to do and see at the festival which starts the day before Thanksgiving, but the biggest party of the year is in the gumbo tent. According to ESPN (who is there every year for the gumbo and the World Championship of Duck Calling as well), the waiting list just to get a booth in the gumbo tent to compete is 10 years! Once they have a booth it’s up to them to create a gumbo in which at least 50% of the meat is duck. The rest of the meat is up to each competitor.
For your $20 entry fee into the event, you get to sample all the gumbo you can eat, listen to a live band, and party with thousands of other gumbo enthusiasts. It’s a fun and festive atmosphere (only for those 21 and up), and even if you’re not a fan of duck meat, you will for sure have a blast at this event. I personally have never been a big fan of duck, but having gone to this event three years in a row, I can honestly say that if it is done well in a good gumbo with lots of flavor, I don’t mind the taste at all. Some of the competitors from Louisiana are fond of putting crawfish meat in their gumbos, and that has to be my personal favorite. If you go, prepare to feel the heat from the spices that have been simmering in those pots all day!
My friend Jessica is the one who introduced me to this festival, and it’s with her that I have gone every year. This year we also made the 2 hour trek down to Stuttgart with 2 more cohorts, Lacey and Heffy. Now the night before the trip Heffy had messaged me to let me know he was making some brownies, but that he had messed them up terribly. Well, having never met a brownie I didn’t like, I was thrilled when he brought some on the trip anyway. Now, some might think it’s going backwards to eat brownies first THEN follow it up with gumbo, but hey, life is short and brownies are always a great decision. Here is Heffy’s brownie recipe. I’m going to put the real version, and then I will put the mess up in there and you can do it either way. I can testify that the mistake version is beyond delicious.
- 1 14 oz package of caramels
- 1 (5 oz )can of evaporated milk
- 1 pkg german chocolate cake mix
- 2/3 cup melted margarine
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 (6-oz) package of chocolate chips
Heat caramels and ¼ cup of the evaporated milk (melt in microwave, heat 1 minute, stir and then heat another 1 minute). Heat and stir until mixture is smooth.
Mix cake mix (dry), margarine, remaining milk and the pecans. Stir until mixed.
Spread ½ of the dough (1 1/2 cups) in 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan (very lightly spray pan with Pam). Bake 6 minutes.
Remove from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked layer. Drizzle caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Drop remaining dough by teaspoonfuls onto caramel mixture layer, spreading evenly. Bake until portion is slightly dry to the touch. 15 – 20 minutes.
*****the mistake****** Heffy used a can of sweetened condensed milk by accident. So he ended up using the whole 14 oz. can. He used the appropriate amount on the caramel mixture and the rest on the brownie part. This is one mistake you will not regret!
Cool completely, refrigerate until firm. Cut into 2 ¼ x 1 inch bars. 48 bars.