About cooking wild ducks

Yield: 1 servings

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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, and _really_ impress the chicks, 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 bvlogan@... Newsgroups: rec.hunting NYC Nutrilink: N0^00000

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