Duck is good. No, actually it’s very good! My husband hasn’t been much of a duck hunter since I’ve known him. A family friend convinced him to go hunting a couple of years ago early before work one day. I hoped he would bring home a duck. I had been thinking about some new recipes for duck for a long time.
Success! He harvested three lovely little ducks (this is good thing, chances are they were young, which means they might not taste as wild as older duck can) that year. Later that same day, I stopped by his work to pick up the ducks and I was greeted at the front door with “Did you hear what’s in the work fridge down stairs?” one of his coworkers, said with wild eyes. She continued on, “Your not going to eat them—are you?” I guess even in a small country town, where many people still hunt, people just aren’t used to men who show up to work in full camouflage with 3 dead ducks (still fully feathered) dangling at his side.
Since then, my hubby has been duck hunting many times. Our whole family really likes duck. Last week, our youngest, son shot his first duck. Upon returning home that morning, he immediately asked for a spacific recipe. If a young teenager asks for a recipe —you know its got to be good. Teenagers are picky!
I think duck is one of the easier “wild things” to cook. It tastes best when you only cook it for a short time. I know duck can be “ducky” tasting, but with some little careful planning, and using the right ingredients, it will not taste gamey.
A couple of years ago, I worked hard on creating recipes using duck for one of the sponsors on Minnesota Bound when I was their cooking host. They all were a huge hit. I played off the flavors of the duck instead of trying to mask them. I’ve found when I try to mask the game flavor; it usually ends up tasting more gamey, because the flavors compete and do not compliment each other. Apples were my inspiration for this recipe and how appropriate for fall!
If you don’t have wild duck, you can use duck purchased for the store and it will taste just as good.
Wild Duck & Apple Appetizers
2 wild duck breasts or one whole store bought duck
Coconut oil, optional
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
2 small tart apples, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup sour cream
1-2 teaspoons horseradish sauce
16 slices of crostini toasted, garlic bread toast or baked mini pizza crusts.
Make sure your duck is very clean (okay, not that clean—no soap, please!) and free of feathers. I like to leave the breast skin on to help keep it moist while it cooks, if possible. But if not, I like to use coconut oil and rub it all over the duck breasts. Lightly sprinkle the greased duck with seasoned salt and pepper.
Wrapped the breasts in foil and place on a cooking sheet. Baked for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, just until done. If your ducks are cold, they may need to cook a little longer. DO NOT OVER COOK! The goal is to cook them long enough, until they are fully cooked. Check them often, if need be. When the duck is finished cooking, remove the meat from the bones. Shred the meat using two forks pulling in opposite directions. Remember you will be cooking the meat briefly again, so if it’s not fully cooked that’s okay.
While the duck is cooking, Sauté the apples and onion with 1-2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of water; cover and cook for 4-5 minutes, until apples are soft. Add 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce, 1/4-cup brown sugar. Stir until the apples start to caramelize. Add the shredded duck and heat until duck is hot again, stir into the sauce. Set aside.
Top with the sour cream mixed with a dash of horseradish sauce and pepper. I like to place a small slice of apple on top for garnish. I’ve use chopped chives too. Both are pretty.