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You *CANNOT* use the same recipes on a wild duck that you'd use on a domestic one. Because they are so lean, they will cook very fast. My favorite technique, beside besides simply roasting them over a mirepoix, is to saute the breast over high heat in either a bit of olive oil or brown butter just long enough to sear the exterior, but not so long that they are cooked through. They should be rare. They are then removed from the pan and kept warm (on a platter at the rear of the range or in a slow oven) while a reduction sauce is prepared in the pan. Any number of classic sauces go well with duck prepared in this manner; I generally begin by sauteing some shallots in butter, deglazing with a good, fruity red wine, reducing by half, and then adding a bit of brown stock and finishing it with a swirl of butter. Garlic, minced gingerroot, or some crushed herbs can be added to the sauteed shallots as desired. You could also substitute some heavy cream for the stock. To serve, sauce a plate, thickly slice the duck breast across the grain diagonally, place in the sauce on the plate and drizzle a little of the remaining sauce over the cut slices. Add your favorite accompaniments, potatoes or rice and whatever... Serve some of the wine that was used to make the sauce.

There are any number of variations on the above theme: sometimes I cold smoke the duck with a fruitwood or nutwood fire -- apple or pecan is my favorite before searing, and then toss some of the complimentary fruit or nuts in with the sauteing shallots when I make the sauce.

You can accomplish pretty much the same thing over an open grill, but the key is to be sure to remove the breast from the heat well before they are cooked through. The classic way of determining when you have reached the right stage is this: Make a fist with your thumb tucked inside. With the forefinger of your opposite hand, rapidly press down on the exposed muscle pad at the base of your thumb of your fisted hand. That's the feel the duck breast should return when it's ready to be removed from the heat.

Bryan Logan

The river and pond ducks are the mallard, black or dusty, gadwall or gray, baldpate or widgeon, green-winged and blue-winged teal, shoveler, pintail, and wood.

The sea and bay ducks are the redhead, canvasback, greater scaup or broadbill, lesser scaup or creek broadbill, ring-necked, golden-eye or whistler, Barrow's golden-eye, bufflehead or butterball, old-squaw or southerly, harlequin, American eider, American scoter or black coot, white-winged coot, surf scoter, and ruddy.

Mallards are the choice of most duck fans, and mallard (raised for market) is frequently the duck served in restaurants. Puddler ducks -- mallards, blacks, shovelers, woodies, and teals -- are best for roasting. Diving ducks such as redheads, canvasbacks, and scaup are stronger flavored and are usually preferred in dishes calling for heavier seasoning. Some waterfowl should always be skinned. These include old-squaw, mergansers, coot, and mud hens. These are fish eaters and it can easily be proven at the table if you don't skin them.

Small Duck Timetable

Smaller ducks can be roasted with skin on and require a shorter cooking time. Rub with softened butter, and season. Put a cut-up apple in the cavity after salting and peppering if desired. Roast unskinned in a 400 degree oven. Teal: 7 1/2 minutes for rare, 10 for medium Ruddy: 9 minutes for rare, 12 for medium Butterball: 9 minutes for rare, 12 for medium.

The goose family includes (although not all of them are legal in all flyways) the white-fronted, snow, lesser snow, Canada or wild, brant, and black brant.

Geese range in size from the Ross, which will weigh around 3 pounds, through the brant (to 5 pounds) to the choicest Canada goose, which will run around 9 pounds for an adult male. Ducks are not only smaller, but have a relatively wider range of sizes. The European teal will go about 10 ounces, but the most popular mallard about 2 1/2 pounds, and the largest, the Pacific eider, about 5 1/2 pounds.

Whatever waterfowl your hunter comes home with, the meat is dark, rich, and flavorful. This is one meat that should be served just as rare as your family will allow, even bloody rare. Older birds benefit from marinating overnight or for 24 hours to tenderize. Use a red wine or a marinade that will blend with the final dish. Old birds, even though marinated, should have moist cooking, but they still can be roasted. Put about 1 cup of water in the roaster to be sure there is steam to moisten the bird.

As a general rule, waterfowl should be at room temperature when put into the oven. If it is preheated to 500 degrees, a 6 pound goose will take 1 hour and 10 minutes or less; a mallard cooks for 20 minutes for very rare, 30 minutes for medium-rare. (These times are for unstuffed birds.) Serve hot or cold with Lemon Butter.

Jacqueline E. Knight


Mahogany Duck - Gourmet	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
2		Ducks, 4-1/2	
1/4	cup	Scotch	
3	tablespoons	Fresh gingerroot, peeled & sredded	
1 1/2	teaspoons	Garlic, minced	
2	tablespoons	Orange zest, julienned	
1	teaspoon	Coriander seeds, crushed	
1	teaspoon	Black peppercorns, crushed	
3/4	cup	Soy sauce	
2	tablespoons	Honey	
2	tablespoons	Dark brown sugar, packed	
2	slices	Bread	
2	medium	Scallions	
2	sprigs	Parsley	
3	cups	Beer	
1 3/4	cups	Brown stock	
2	teaspoons	Arrowroot, dissolved in	
3	tablespoons	Cold water	
		Kumquats for garnish	

  Rinse ducks, pat dry, and remove excess fat from body cavities. Truss the
birds.  Arrange them, breast side up, several inches apart on a rack set
over a large roasting pan.  Let them dry, chilled but uncovered, for 3
days. In a bowl, combine the Scotch, gingerroot, garlic, zest, coriander,
peppercorns, soy sauce, honey, and brown sugar. Let this mixture stand,
covered and chilled, for 3 days. Stir marinade, and press it through a fine
sieve into a small bowl. Keeping the ducks chilled, brush them with some of
the marinade, every 30 minutes, for 2-1/2 hours. Let the ducks dry at room
temperature for 30 minutes. Stuff each duck with one of the bread slices, 1
scallion and 1 parsley sprig. Spoon remaining marinade into the cavities.
Prick the ducks, except for the breast area, with a fork. Pour the beer
into the roasting pan. Roast the ducks on the rack in the lower third of a
preheated 350f oven for 30 minutes. Tent birds with foil and roast for 30
minutes more. Discard foil and roast for another 30 minutes or until a meat
thermometer registers 180f. (The skin should be very mahogany colored and
crisp.) Remove stuffing ingredients with a spoon and discard them and the
pan juices. Pour the juices from the cavities through a fine sieve into a
small bowl. Skim the fat, and reserve 1/4 cup of the juices. Arrange ducks
on a platter and keep them warm, covered loosely. In a saucepan, bring the
stock to a boil, simmer it for 15 minutes, and stir in reserved juices.
Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Stir arrowroot mixture and add to pan. Cook
the mixture over mod-low heat, being careful not to boil, until thickened.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a heated sauceboat.
Garnish the duck with kumquats and serve with the sauce. 


Apache Wild Goose

Recipe By:	Indian Cookin compiled by Herb Walker, 1977	

Amount	Measure	Ingredient	Preparation Method
1		Wild goose, well cleaned &	
		Picked, do not skin.	
2 1/2	qt	Cornbread crumbs	
1	lg	Onion, chopped fine	
2		Jonathan apples, diced	
		Salt and pepper	
		Goose giblets	

  Boil giblets until tender, remove skin, and chop fine.  Combine with
  cornbread crumbs, onions and apple.  Mix well and add salt and ppeper,
  sage, garlic and other seasonings to taste.  Moisten and stuff goose.
  Place goose in roasting pan and spread with about 2 T. butter, and
  then sprinkle with a little flour.  Roast in 350 degree oven until
  done, which will take about 15 to 20 minutes per pound.  Baste often.

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