"Charlie kinda kept (the recipe) in his head, but his son Robert watched his father cook and pieced it together," Close explained. "The recipe was his pride and joy. It's very good!"
One note: The brown flour referred to in the recipe is simply dry flour toasted to a medium brown in a baking pan in the oven.
"You know how those Yankees do things," chuckled Close about Buckley's method of making a roux.
12 coot breasts and giblets
3/4 cup brown flour
2 qt. water
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. red pepper
1 tbsp. Morton Nature's Seasons Seasoning Blend
2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
1 tsp. chipotle hot sauce
2 tsp. Ac'cent Flavor Enhancer
1 tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet
2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
4 bay leaves
3 tbsp. bacon grease
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 tbsp. minced garlic
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1-2 tsp. filé powder
3 stalks celery, chopped
Wash coots and set aside. Dice giblets into bite-size pieces.
Place brown flour in a large (2-gallon) pot. Add water slowly, while stirring, until the flour is wet.
Add the remainder of the water, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper, Nature's Seasons, black pepper, hot sauce, Ac'cent, Kitchen Bouquet, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning and bay leaves.
Place bacon grease, yellow and green onions, bell pepper and garlic in a large black iron skillet. Saute until the vegetables are soft, and then add them to the large pot, reserving as much of the bacon grease as possible.
Brown the giblets in the bacon grease and add them to the pot, with all but a tablespoon of bacon grease. Add 3 tablespoon of cooking oil to the skillet and brown the coot breasts. Add them to the pot. Add filé powder.
Cover and heat to a soft boil for 2 hours or until the coot breasts can easily be removed from the bone.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the coot breasts from the pot, debone them and return the meat to the pot. Add the celery and cook until the celery is soft.
Serve with rice, accompanied by corn meal muffins.