In addition to raising our own food in the form of the garden and livestock, we also harvest food in the form of hunting. Neal is a lifelong hunter with a particular passion for bird hunts. This past week he had the opportunity to attend a hunt on the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge with friends. The group of three had a great time while braving the cold front that brought the birds as well as snow in the sight of their blinds. Neal brought home 23 ducks which he processed preserving the breast meat which was placed in the freezer for future meals.
Above: The harvest from the second day of the two day hunt.
Until I met Neal I had never had the opportunity to cook wild game. I have had to learn quite a bit and found there aren’t too many recipes out there designed for wild duck. Neal opts to skin his ducks primarily due to the ease of skinning versus plucking. This removes any fat that lays below the skin’s surface. Most recipes require use of the thick layer of fat more commonly found on most domestic duck cuts. Because of this I often make changes to recipes I find to fit with the wild duck we have available. My inspiration was a Martha Stewart recipe, Duck Breast a l’Orange. I made a few tweeks to the sauce and significant changes to the duck preparation.
Wild Orange Duck
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cooking sherry
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- Zest of 1 orange
- Orange juice from 1 orange
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons minced yellow onion
- 8 wild duck breast
- 8 bacon strips
- One orange sliced
- black pepper
- Place the duck breast in a large bowl and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt. Allow the duck breast to brine in this bowl while preparing the sauce.
- Place the sugar in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat. As the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Allow the sugar to brown until it reaches a deep amber color. Watch out, this can happen FAST which is why there are no pictures of it here.
3. Remove the sugar from the heat and slowly add the sherry, vinegar, zest, juice, chicken broth, and onion. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce reduces by about half.
4. While the sauce is reducing. Prepare the duck breast. Remove the duck from the brine and pat dry. Spread the duck out on a plate and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn duck over and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper again.
5. Wrap each duck breast in a strip of bacon.
6. Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place the bacon wrapped duck breast in the skillet. Allow to cook for about eight minutes.
7. Turn the duck breast and pour the reduced orange sauce evenly over the duck. Tuck orange slices between the duck breasts and allow to cook an additional eight minutes.
Serve over rice with your favorite green vegetable.
Happy homesteading and God bless!