Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season the duck pieces with Essence. Sear the duck pieces for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly, to make a roux the color of chocolate. Add the vegetables and season with salt and cayenne. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves and smoked sausage. Slowly stir in the water and bring to a boil. Add the duck pieces, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, skimming off the fat occasionally. Stir in the green onions. Ladle the gumbo into a bowl and garnish with rice.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings