I do like wild duck dinners. But I don’t have a gun, and I’m not good at sitting near a pond in a maimai, waiting for the sun to rise.
Luckily, I have a brother-in-law whose happy place is the above mentioned maimai. He also has Smudge, an eager dog who bounds into the water and retrieves the unlucky fowl. Better yet, he is generous.
Slow cooked is best
Over the years, and after much experimentation, I’ve decided the best way to cook duck is slowly, in a covered baking dish, submerged in aromatic sauces. I’ve done the a l’orange roasting variations and while good, they can sometimes come out dry.
This recipe, cobbled together by the husband, is absolutely delicious. The meat is tender and succulent, the taste fantastic. Serve with mashed potato and plenty of colourful vege. Don’t discard the carcass – it makes a great base for a delicious soup.
DUCK WITH BACON AND WINE
1-2 wild ducks
Garlic, 4-6 cloves, peeled, and chopped roughly
1 orange, zested and sliced into rings
red wine, 2 cups
2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
olive oil, 2 Tbsp
Thyme and rosemary, chopped finely
3 streaky bacon rashers, chopped, plus 2 unchopped for each duck
Salt, black pepper to taste
- Brown duck in olive oil in a roasting dish (one with a cover – a large cast iron pot can be used if only cooking one duck) until golden brown. Remove to another plate. Finely chop one onion, and fry with the garlic and chopped bacon.
- Add the herbs and orange peel. Season well. Remove to another plate.
- Deglaze the dish with the wine and stock. Stuff each duck with half an onion. Lay the duck in the dish and lay two orange slices on each, adding any remaining slices to the dish. Lay the unchopped bacon rashers over the ducks, then tip other ingredients into the dish.
- Cover and roast for about four hours at 120°C – the liquid in the dish should be simmering slowly. Check hourly, tasting and adjusting, and adding water, as necessary.