Duck season is upon us!!
A successful harvest so far this season means that I’ve had a fun chance to do something new with a protein I’ve never used. I’ve had restaurant duck plenty of times, and it’s always been delicious. But wild duck is a whole different animal, and it really puts a whole new spin on it when you can take something all the way from harvest to plate.
In addition to eating we also have some wings stashed in the freezer for a taxidermy/biology lab style display I want to do for the upstairs loft. I’m thinking something along the lines of displaying the wings with little tags and their Latin names. It’s a nice way to blend hunting with science in a stylized way, and it will feature the prettiest part of the birds….in my opinion. Using as much of what we bring home as possible is something I really put a lot of focus on, The Engineer might say too much focus….but he usually goes along with my ideas! 🙂
The most shocking part of duck season so far is how strongly Madam Roo has taken to the whole situation. My usual timid, perpetually nervous girl has taken to charging right through The Engineer when he arrives home that she can go investigate what he’s brought home every morning. Poor guy just wants to say hello to her, and she can’t even be bothered until she’s accessed the daily harvest.
I have grand cooking plans for all sorts of wild game, so I tend to get a bit bossy with home the birds should be cleaned. Sadly, it’s been a bit too early in the season to pluck a bird for roasting. They have all been about halfway between their summer feathers and having their dense winter, downy feathers grow in. This has just led to a mess of plucking, so sadly I haven’t had a bird yet for roasting with my canned apple chutney. That will come with time I’m sure, but I am antsy to try that and let you know how it goes!
While we patiently wait for the birds to fully plume for winter, and hopefully cleaner plucking, we’ve been breasting out the birds. I tend to be a bit more skilled than The Engineer in that capacity, so bird cleaning as really become a whole family affair. We usually try and keep Scout in the house while the knives are flying, but she’s taken to crying like she’s being beaten if we are out with the ducks without her, so we usually cave about halfway through.
My very first adventure into cooking duck was Spicy Thai Duck Burgers curtesy of From Field to Plate. I’ve used other From Field to Plate recipes before, and I’ve always had really great results. I really can’t say enough good things about his lime and tequila turkey marinade! The burgers were alright, but I would defiantly tweak the spices and flavors next time we make them.
I think I’m just not a huge fan of cinnamon paired with meats. I know that it’s a normal flavor profile in some Eastern cuisines, but it’s just not my favorite flavor. Also, I didn’t find it all that spicy, and even The Engineer thought it was too mild. I will say I did half the jalapeño in the slaw, but usually a single jalapeño is all The Engineer can tolerate spice wise. It’s so hard to know especially because every pepper is a little different, but it could have used way more oomph.
I would definitely remove the cinnamon and amp up the spice for round two. Also, I don’t like peanut sauce and it was a Wednesday night, and I was feeling lazy…..so I cheated and bought some peanut sauce for The Engineer. The From Field to Plate homemade version is probably much better. If you’re into peanut sauce and give it a try let me know!
This week we were a bit crunched for time, so instead of trying a new recipe we went to an old fall back. Friday night duck taco and nacho night with margaritas was exactly what this week called for! Just treat it exactly the way you’d use regular ground beef, and no one will even know you’re sneaking waterfowl into the dinner rotation!
I do a bit feel like I’m not really using the ducks to their full flavor potential, and it’s making me a little bummed. I’m not really in love with the texture of ground duck….it’s a bit soft. More on the side of ground turkey or chicken then say ground beef or deer. It defiantly goes better, in my opinion, with something crunchy….slaw or tortilla chips. But, at the end of the day, it’s all getting gobbled up and that’s really what counts.
Meals do really mean more when you know the time and sacrifice that have been put in to make them happen. So many people have moved so far away from knowing where their food comes from. Nothing that arrives on your table arrives by magic, and I’m glad that in this house we are active participants in at least some of the meals that arrive on the dining room table.
Bonus points for not having any shot end up in the taco meat! I’ll take that as my major victory for the week!!