Saturday, November 26, 2011
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.