Gumbo is the quintessential Louisiana dish; it’s practically a religion here. Everyone makes it a little differently, but everyone makes it — and has very strong opinions on the right way to do it. I learned to make gumbo from my uncle, who learned it from my grandma. But I waited a long time before putting it on the La Petite menu, because it’s such a personal thing.Gumbo has gone through so many creative interpretations that once you understand the essentials, it really just comes down to making it however you want to make it. I use duck because I like to go duck hunting, but if you prefer chicken, that works, too. These days, I’m not so concerned with making a super-traditional gumbo — I’d rather throw in some poblano peppers and greens, and if you want to call it blasphemy, that’s fine with me. I think it’s delicious.A few things to note about the cooking technique: The success of a great gumbo lies in the roux (which in this case is a flavoring agent, more than a thickening one). This recipe can be easily doubled to feed a crowd (and freezes well); make it in advance if possible, since it always tastes better the second day. It’s traditional to serve gumbo with rice, though my favorite accompaniment is a super-simple potato salad with mustard, mayonnaise, and vinegar — that’s a classic southwestern Louisiana way to eat it.Reprinted with permission from The New Orleans Kitchen by Justin Devillier, copyright (c) 2019. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.