Cooking Wild Recipe: One Duck, Two Dish Supper

How to stretch one duck to the max – with two dishes!

Here’s a one duck, two-dish supper that’ll serve three to four people and if the liver was saved in the field, you can have a tasty appetizer too boot. It’s what I call stretching a duck to the max.

Of course, two ducks go around better than one and three ducks are a family feast but for those times when one duck is all the bounty you have after the bird bag has been divvied up amongst your waterfowling buddies, then here’s how to make the most of it.

A good eating duck, like any other prized game meat, is one that has been properly field-dressed. Unlike big game animals that need to be gutted immediately after shooting, you don’t have to stop in the middle of overhead action to gut a downed bird but when you do get to the job at hand, to ensure prime eating the duck must be impeccably cleaned — inside and out! Once that’s done, the cook is ready to roll.

Some of my favourite duck recipes are deeply-rooted in Chinese cuisine where creative chefs excel at making a little meat go a long way such as in the delicious, main course Duck Stir-fry (recipe below) that leans heavily on vegetables to make up for a lack of meat.

But don’t stop stretching the duck yet! You can make a gourmet liver pate to whet the appetite and simmer the carcass into a tasty starter soup to kick off the meal. If a wild duck is not on the menu, a tame duck will do… in which case, you’ll want to plan more hunts into the upcoming waterfowling season.

Tip: wild ducks vary in size depending on species and habitat. A prairie duck that’s been gorging on grain will be fattened up more than a northern relative that’s been living off uncultivated land. Saving up smaller birds in the freezer until you have enough to go around (as well as giblets and carcasses) can make the above dishes “meatier.”

Duck Stir-Fry

  • Skinned duck breast cut into bite-sized pieces, marinated for several hours in the following marinade:
  • Marinade: mix together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ¼ cup sherry, 1 clove minced garlic and pinch of 5-Spice powder (or ground ginger)
  • Any or all of the following vegetables in amounts to suit needs, cut into traditional stir-fry fashion: onion, carrot, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, daikon, bok choy, mushrooms, snow peas, baby corn, water chestnuts
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic

Heat oil in wok, stir-fry garlic and duck (with marinade) three minutes. Add vegetables, stir-fry until just tender. Blend sauce ingredients below and stir into vegetables and duck. Cook until thick and clear.

Sauce

  • ¼ cup sweet chili sauce (or plum sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch blended into ¼ cup water

Duck Liver Pate

  • 4 slices smoky bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • chopped duck liver (and heart and gizzard, if desired)
  • 1 minced onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry

Fry bacon until crispy, crumble and set aside. Melt butter in bacon drippings; add liver, onion and garlic and sauté five minutes. Mash with a fork. Add seasonings, bacon and sherry. Mix well, pack into pate pot (small bowl), sprinkle with hot or sweet paprika and chill until firm. Serve with crusty bread. If you prefer a finer textured spread, puree in blender.

Bonus Recipe!

Duck Carcass Soup

Cut up carcass after breasting, put in roast pan along with two tablespoons butter, an onion, whole carrot and stalk of celery. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour or until bones and fat are browned. Add four cups water. Transfer to stovetop, simmer 20 minutes. Strain broth, reserve vegetables and discard bones. Cut vegetables into strips, return to broth and season with three tablespoons soy sauce, drop of sesame oil, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer five minutes. Garnish soup with minced green onions. Serve over cooked rice noodles, if desired.

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