has a hard time of it. His bag limits are so low nowadays that he often wonders
whether it is worth sitting in a bitter-cold marsh for the chance to shoot a
few ducks or a couple of geese. If he is successful, he frequently finds that
certain popular fallacies about these fowl make it difficult for him to get the
birds cooked at home or even to give them away.
The fact is that
popular ducks and geese have incomparably delicate flavors. It isn't true that
all ducks are greasy, either, though often it is of birds raised for the market
(they are fed well, get little exercise). But migrating wildfowl are something
else again. And while it is true that a species may be an "eating" duck
in one part of the country and a "trash" duck in another, because local
food conditions affect the flavor of the bird, the myth of greasiness does not
apply. The gunner who follows some of the recipes on these pages will find that
a duck or goose cooked imaginatively and well can be the star at any Christmas
THE 35 MINUTE
Clean the birds
and age them for two days in a cool place. When ready, rub the ducks inside and
out with salt and place breast up in a roaring-hot oven (500� or more). After
20 minutes baste with a wine sauce, then twice again with the birds' juices and
basting liquid in the pan. Cook them an even 35 minutes and carve at the table.
The meat will be tender and full of flavor.
Make the wine
basting sauce with 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups rough
red wine, a generous sprinkle of pepper. After 20 minutes, stab the ducks with
a large fork so that the juices can drain into the sauce. Serve these delicious
birds with fried hominy squares, baked sweet potato, cold ale and fruit for
WILD DUCK IN THE
Clean the bird, stuff with an onion and half a lemon, then hang for two days,
after which time discard the onion and lemon and cut off the breast fillets and
legs. Saut� them in a deep skillet over a high fire in 1 tablespoon of butter,
1 teaspoon chopped parsley, salt, pepper and a light dust of nutmeg. Turn and
brown; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons flour. Add 3/4 cup dry white wine, or water
with 1 tablespoon lemon juice in it. Cook until the liquid thickens, add juice
of a large lemon and 4 tablespoons consomm�. Cook until juices thicken, and
serve with a salad, hot corn bread, buttered asparagus.
Clean and singe birds, insert sliced onion and lemon in orifice and hang for
two or three days in a cool place. The onion and lemon will remove any fishy
taste from most ducks. Discard these and wash ducks inside and out in cold
running water; dry thoroughly. Prepare a stuffing of sauerkraut and tart apples
(in equal parts), add 1 teaspoon of celery seeds, and pepper generously. Stuff
birds and truss them. Rub all over with a mixture of flour and butter. Put
mallards in roasting pan and pack the surplus sauerkraut around them. Sprinkle
the sauerkraut with 2 teaspoons sugar and add 1 cup water or dry white wine.
Place in a 325� oven and roast until brown and tender, basting several times
with the pan juices. (A fork plunged into the breast will reveal when ducks are
ready.) The taste is slightly robust, the kraut companionable.
Clean a pair of plump redhead ducks, give them the onion-lemon treatment and
hang them for two or three days. Cut into serving pieces, season liberally with
salt and pepper, sear in olive oil and a clove of minced garlic, then arrange
pieces in a hot casserole. Add 12 small white onions, a finely diced carrot, 1
cup green peas, 1 cup shredded lettuce, 1 cup cubed raw potatoes. Salt and
pepper, add 2 cups water or dry white wine, top with 4 slices of bacon. Cover,
place the casserole in a 300�-325� oven, cook until tender. Serve with a salad
of grapefruit and onion rings in a French dressing having grapefruit juice
instead of wine vinegar.
This is for guests who may need to be solidly converted. Rub ducks inside and
out with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper. Put half a peeled orange
in the orifice. Roast in a 400� oven 15 minutes to the pound, basting with a
mixture of lemon juice and melted butter. Melt 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1
tablespoon cider vinegar in a small skillet until the syrup caramelizes. Remove
excess fat from roasting pan and stir into the juices 1 cup white stock, the
juice of 2 large oranges and a small lemon, 4 tablespoons brandy. Blend and add
to the caramel; cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring hard. Pour sauce
over ducks, sprinkle with shredded parboiled orange peel.
ROAST DUCK WITH