What to do with wild duck?
I have a large amount of wild duck in my freezer and will be cooking it for eight people. However, I have never cooked with wild duck before. The hunter said that his family "boils" it to make it tender, but I have to imagine he means braising.
Is anyone familiar with this? They're tiny, so I don't think they would roast well, as most recipes I see call for 5 pound ducks. Should I halve each one and braise it?
Many thanks! I have several weeks to worry about this but want to do a dry run or two first.
Wild duck is much leaner with tougher meat than farmed-raised. Roasting it would not work. I would cut it up into pieces, like a chicken, make a stock out of the back, wing tips, etc, and braise it with red wine, aromatic vegetables, the duck stock, etc. Marinade the duck pieces overnight in red wine and herb if you have time and use the marinade to braise it. If you want to cut the 'gaminess', a little red wine/balsamic vinegar and pinch of sugar when you make the sauce will cut the some of the gaminess. It would probably take at least an hour of simmering. The breast will be a bit dry regardless.
I just cooked 5 small wild ducks. We took the breasts off, and used the rest of the meat to make a duck stock. Brined the breasts overnight (keep skin on) and then pan roasted to med-rare. Served with a shallot jam I thinned with red wine and warmed. Here is a link I think is useful: http://www.honest-food.net/blog1/
Note - even mid rare the breasts were moist while warm, but dried out quickly as they cooled so serve hot with plenty of sauce/gravy.
Wild ducks, such as mallard, roast fine, although the smaller ones like widgeon and teale can be a bit tricky. For mallard, I roast at 220C for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 for another 15 minutes or so. The smaller types of duck may well be ready after the first 20 minutes or may need another 5 or 10. In all cases, remember to rest the birds for 10 - 20 minutes.
Of course, a braise will always work instead - prticularly with an older bird