Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Wild Duck breast in red wine/cream sauce

Wild duck is in my opinion rather hopeless to prepare. Or was.
The meat is dry, the skin has little fat, plucking them is a total pain in the proverbial and roasting or grilling only produces un-chewable leather pouches.
So when someone gives you 4 freshly shot ducks, what do you do?

Here's a success story.

The main thing is to pluck them.
4 wild ducks in our case.
The village trick seems to be: pour boiling water over them and remove feather and down.
You try - not a simple task. And it stinks.

Having somehow succeeded, with feathers flying all over the garden, in the flowerbeds and the rather unpleasant smell of dead duck feathers (yeah - that's the verdict of a city dweller), we gave up on the plan to have 4 'duck steaks' for the freezer and proceeded to cut out the breasts and the legs - and dump the skin.
Lots of blood and dark meat!
There isn't that much meat beyond breast and legs anyway.

All went into the freezer.

Now for the preparation:
Wild duck is very dry, chewy and really not suited for oven, grill or a quick fry-up.
I decided to marinate the breasts in red wine and cognac for 2 hours (more would be better), cover them in thyme and chopped rosemary, wrap them in 3 pieces of streaky bacon each and slow cook them.

Make sure the joining points of the bacon are at the same side of the breasts.

Put the wrapped little darlings in the pan over low heat in a mix of a little oil and butter, cover, and roast-simmer for 20 min.
Turn them (the bacon is now glued firmly to one side of the breast) and continue cooking under a lid for 30 min.
Remove and keep warm.
Mind you - this is a recipe for someone NOT going for pink wild duck meat, which is dangerous at any rate.
There are ways to get around that, but that's beyond me.

Add chopped onion to the pan, a little of the marinade to loosen the tasty bits and let the onion simmer for 10 min.
Add the rest of the marinade and - if you have it - a little sweet wine like Marsala.
Simmer on, add cream, sieve to remove onions - and you have the most delicious sauce.

Serve with smooth mashed potatoes (Olive oil, butter, milk and lots of chopped parsley).
Heaven -

Dry wild duck?
Never again.


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