Wild duck is rich, delicious and suited to any number of recipes, but cooking wild duck requires special attention. The key to cooking wild duck is to avoid over-cooking the duck, which means you will have to pay close attention to the bird as it cooks. Wild ducks are much leaner than their domestic counterparts, and will dry out if cooked for too long. While a domestic duck should be cooked until its juices run clear, a wild duck should be cooked until the juice is slightly pink.
Sautee wild duck breasts or thighs with olive oil or butter. This technique is good for wild duck, since cooking the duck in a pan will let you see whether or not the duck is overcooking. Bon Appetit recommends sauteeing wild duck breast with wild mushrooms and shallots, then adding red wine to create a simple, yet decadent, sauce.
Try wild duck in place of chicken in your favorite stews or pie. A stew of duck, white beans, sausage and braised greens comprises a classic French cassoulet served at Lemaire Restaurant in New York City. Down in Louisianna, chef Emril Lagasse kicks duck and sausage up with okra, bell peppers, garlic and onions to make a spicy gumbo. Stews require duck pieces, and pies need duck to be cut into bite-sized chunks. Talk to your local butcher and ask him to bone and cut the duck for you to save on preparation time.
Roast wild duck for a new take on a classic family dinner. Roasting a duck can present a challenge to even the most experienced cook, as different parts of the duck will cook at different times and speeds. Place the duck in a roasting pan, then set in an oven set at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or slightly above). Cooking times will depend on the size of duck, but a meat thermometer will help you track the bird's progress. Do not cook past 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. Roasted duck can be seasoned with a handful of salt and pepper (the preferred method of The Grilling Guys) or marinated in soy sauce, lemon juice, red wine and spices (a favorite of Gourmet magazine).
Serve with simple vegetables, such as roasted asparagus or red potatoes. Make sure to have plenty of crusty bread on hand for soaking up juices and sauces.Wild duck is considered a red meat, so choose a hearty red wine that will stand up well to its richness. Pinot Noir and Red Burgundy are two wines that pair well with wild duck.
Hailing from California, Ann Mazzaferro is a professional writer who has written for "The Pacifican," "Calliope Literary Magazine" and presented at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference. Mazzaferro graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of the Pacific.
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