"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Annual Duck (Harvesting Breasts)

Our newest Christmas season tradition around here is wild duck for dinner. A very generous duck hunting neighbor of ours (hereinafter Duckman)has taken to stopping by on his way home and dropping off a few ducks for us. I guess he likes hunting duck more than he likes eating it. Also, he heard that my husband really loves duck - which is true. Me, I could take it or leave it, but Homero adores duck. Above is a lovely brace of mallards we were given yesterday.

Duckman showed me, the very first time he gave me some ducks, how to cut out the breast, which is the only part he eats. Last year, when Homero's family was here, Mama and Temy cleaned all five ducks and we roasted them whole, but I am just not up for that. If I could have convinced Homero to get the livers out for me, I would have used them as well, but since I was on my own, I only harvested the breasts.

It sounds wasteful, I know, but seriously, the breast comprises about 60% of the meat on a wild duck, anyway. The liver is another 20%, and the rest of the carcass is pretty much a mass of splintery sharp bones.

The nice thing about plucking duck breasts is how easy it is. No need for hot water, just grab and pull. The feathers come out very easily, and the small fluff left over can be singed off with a wooden kitchen match.

Do watch out for shotgun pellets!

To remove the breast, take a very sharp knife and cut down at an angle as closely to the keel bone as you can. Follow the natural curve of the muscle. It's not difficult at all to get the breast off in more or less one piece, with a nice cap of skin still attached, for roasting up crispy.

These four breasts are now submerged in a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and rice wine vinegar and will be quickly broiled and served over the wild rice and fennel salad leftover from Thanksgiving. Homero usually gets them mostly to himself, which makes him very happy.


Penelope said...

WTF happened to your "graphic photos" warning!? That just made me so miss my ducks :-( atleast the coyote didn't leave anything gross for me to have to look at. Ps, our little brothers are over today and they think it's weird that in the country it's not that uncommon to be thankful that a neighbor dropped something dead off at your house ;-)

Aimee said...

sorry! I will bring back the warning. Of course, the word "harvest" in relation to an animal might serve as a warning... I didn't know the boys were coming up today, how long do you have them?

Olive said...

And, of course Aimee, you did not waste the 'left over' parts of the ducks? Pigs love to eat birds.
Long time ago one of our young roosters would fly up onto the top of the door to the pig pen. We warned him...but he didn't listen. There wasn't a feather to be found.

Aimee said...

Olive - I tossed the carcasses into the blackberry bushes along the fence line. Either my own dogs will find and eat them, or the local coyotes will. If neither canine gets the duck, then finally the hawks and eagles will get them. As I learned in Biology 101: where there is something to eat, there will be something to eat it.

Laura said...

I also love duck! However, there is a really good reason to save the rest of the carcass... Stock.

The best stock I've ever made was duck stock - so rich, it was decadent! It really punches up the volume in anything you use it in.

You can skin the rest of the carcass, roast, and then freeze it if you aren't ready (or leaving on vacation!) for making stock later. I used lots of garlic, onion celery seed - you could add chipotle, cumin - the possibilities are endless.

And very, very tasty...