We not only enjoy watching wildlife we enjoy eating it. For some folks this is revolting, for others a treasure when it presents itself. The area we live in has an abundance of wild game and we have friends that love to share. I have only been duck hunting once here and blanked on that cold December morning. However, Steve was kind enough to share with us some of a successful hunt earlier in the season. He told us a few tips in preparation and most importantly do not over cook it. Now John and I had years ago watched cooking shows that serve the duck almost raw….yuck…..is what we said then. Steve confirmed it, said medium rare was the most you want to cook the breast. He also said soak them in salt water for a few days as well, to help remove the extra blood in the meat.
If you are not aware duck is a very red fowl meat because of the blood that is pumped for miles and miles of flight. If not properly taken care of or prepared the water fowl becomes tough and stringy. So most folks do not care for duck or geese.
Using Steve’s input and my creative cooking ideas plus remembering some ribs cooked this way I said let’s give this a try. Outdoor grilling is my favorite way to cook, and this is what I invisioned for this meal. But with 35 degree temps, wind from the north (the grill is on the north side of the house) and rain I changed my mind. Choosing the oven instead. This turned out perfect if I do say so myself. Plan ahead with this meal, it takes 5 days before cooking.
2-3 days before:
- 3 ducks ….. 6 breast halves cleaned
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- Good water 1-2 cups
- 1 bottle pomegranate cherry
- 3 fresh jalapeño
- 6 slices good bacon
- Cooking rack
After ducks are cleaned (be sure and feel for shot left in the birds) place in a glass bowl that has a lid. Starting with one cup of water mix salt in measuring cup until dissolved. Pour over breast meat. If they are not submerged add enough water to cover. Place the lid on tight and swish around so the new water is mixed with the salted water. Refrigerate 2-3 days. You can swish this everyday or leave it sit.
After soaking in salted water:
Remove from refrigerator, drain off salted water. Rinse birds well and pat dry with paper towel. Clean the same bowl to use it again. After birds are dry place back in the bowl you just took them out of. Pour enough pomegranate juice over them so they are covered. Refrigerate for 2-3 days.
Take birds out and set on counter for 1 hour in bowl with lid on.
Heat oven to 475. Using a baking pan place foil on the bottom for easy clean up, then place rack on foil. Slice jalapeño long in four sections, remove seeds and some of the vien. Oh yes remove the stem too. Lay out the bacon slices, put one section of jalapeño in the middle, place a duck breast at a slight angle on the bacon strip, place another slice of jalapeño on top of the breast and gently wrap the bacon around the bird breast. No need for a tooth pick. Place on rack. Do the same for the remains breast halves. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until bacon is just starting to brown. If you would like you can put under a broil for a minute or so to brown up the bacon.
The duck will have a nice pink middle, the jalapeño will still have a crunch and the bacon will be just done….maybe a little underdone.
As always we hope you enjoy