As the father of 5 boys, all of which are avid hunters with the exception of my youngest (who is only 5 years old at this time), we harvest a lot of ducks and geese throughout the season. I’ve always been adamant about teaching them that "we eat what we kill". If we aren’t going to eat it, you need to have a really good reason for killing it besides it’s “fun to do”. Your opinion may vary but thats how it works here in my home.
As waterfowl hunters, we enjoy the lean meat of the ducks and geese we harvest. However, the key to successfully cooking the meat is to understand that duck and waterfowl are not the same as cooking poultry! It might taste like chicken but it certainly doesn’t cook up like chicken.
Wild duck is best eaten rare to medium. Similar to red meat, duck juices run red, not clear, like poultry. The meat itself is a deep garnet red. As with any wild game, make a point not to overcook it and to eliminate as much of the natural fat as possible and replace it with domestic oil or fat products, such as butter or olive oil. Fat, as you might know, is an insulator for waterfowl, and a lubricant. If there is too much fat, it will prevent the skin from crisping.
Keep in mind that diving ducks, such as bluebill, ringnecks, red-heads, buffleheads, goldeneyes, ruddy ducks, oldsquaw or eiders may need to be brined in order to soften any possible fishy taste. Here are 8 mouthwatering waterfowl recipes to use the next time you have a plethora of duck meat.
Duck a l’Orange
Grilled Duck Poppers
This recipe can be added to a crock pot and heated on low for 5 hours or prepared in a Dutch oven.
2. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of cubed duck breast and cook until well browned on all sides, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer browned meat to large plate. Repeat with remaining duck meat and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.
3. Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic/tomato mixture and broth, and cook, stirring gently until combined.
4. Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any additional browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in celery root, potatoes, onions, herbs and mushrooms. Bring to simmer and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
Whole Roasted Duck
This recipe cannot be simpler!
This is a delicious addition to add on top of soups, salads or warm dishes
This dish comes from an old method of preserving meat by seasoning it and slowly cooking it in its own fat. The cooked meat was then packed into a crock and covered with its cooking fat which acted as a seal and preservative. This method produces a particularly tender meat.
2. Preheat the oven to 225°F. Melt the duck fat in a small saucepan. Brush the salt and seasonings off the duck. Arrange the duck pieces in a single snug layer in a high-sided baking dish or ovenproof saucepan. Pour the melted fat over the duck (the duck pieces should be covered by fat) and place the confit in the oven. Cook the confit slowly at a very slow simmer — just an occasional bubble — until the duck is tender and can be easily pulled from the bone, 2-3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven. Cool and store the duck in the fat. (The confit will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.)
Wild Duck Burgundy
Recipe adapted from Ducks.org
For more delicious ways to prepare wild game and water-fowl, click here.
Dinner is Served!!! (Ring that dinner-bell!)