This recipe comes courtesy of award-winning food blogger and avid waterfowler Hank Shaw, host of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.
The best way to cook wild duck happens to be the easiest way – roasting it whole. This is a slam-dunk excellent recipe.
* One wild duck, plucked and dressed whole
* Two celery sticks or carrots
* Oven (a toaster oven will work for teal)
* Meat thermometer
Preheat oven to 450 or 500 degrees.
Pat the bird dry with a paper towel and salt the duck’s skin.
Brown the duck in a cast iron pan over medium heat, preferably using duck fat, but oil will do. Use tongs to turn it so it browns on all sides. This will take a few minutes to get that golden brown that drives your tastebuds mad.
Turn off the burner, lift the duck with the tongs, then set two celery stalks or carrots underneath it in the pan. Rest the browned duck on them, breast side up.
Pop the whole shebang into the oven for at least 10 minutes for a small bird such as teal, more for a bigger bird.
Start checking the bird after 10 minutes (more for larger birds) by inserting a meat thermometer into the breast. When it hits 135 degrees, pull it out of the oven.
Set the bird on a cutting board and cover it with a tent made of aluminum foil. Let it rest for at least five minutes. (This will raise the temperature to about 145, which makes the food nazis much happier.)
For small birds like teal, serve whole. Larger birds, such as mallard and pintail, can be cut in half (you could use a cleaver or kitchen shears) and will serve two.
Serve with your favorite side dish or salad. Hint: You’ll be grateful if you have bread or another starchy item to soak up the juices.
Try this recipe once and you’ll see why we never breast out a duck at our house – there’s no reason not to savor the whole bird.