The top of Cayuga Lake is frozen, and the waterfowl hunting season for duck and Canada geese has ended in Seneca County . Hopefully you have some ducks to breast or dress whole to eat and enjoy. I have taken to the simple way of breasting a duck by making a small slit in the skin along the breast bone, pulling the skin back to expose the breast meat, and then removing the meat by carefully running my boning knife along the breast bone and ribs to create 2 perfect skinless, boneless breast fillets. The flavor of duck varies, depending on the species, age and condition of the duck. Mallards, teals, black duck, redheads, pintails and ringnecks are excellent for eating (and of course the Canvasback, but they were prohibited this year- no cheating), and of course, the younger the better. A 100 gram skinless, boneless duck breast will provide you with 123 calories, 4 grams of fat, and high quality protein.
Here is a recipe to try from your weekend larder....
SEARED DUCK BREAST WITH PAN JUICES AND RASPBERRY PRESERVES
4 boneless wild duck breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup dry sherry
2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves (you could try other fruit, such as cherry, currant, blueberry, etc)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (optional)
Sprinkle the duck breast evenly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the sherry and fruit preserves. Set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add breast halves and sear for 3 minutes, turning once. Add onions (and optional garlic) to the the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer. Pour sherry mixture over the duck breasts. Cook for 4 to 8 minutes, or until meat is desired doneness and the sauce is slighty reduced and thicker. You may remove the meat, when it is rare to medium rare, to a plate and cover loosely with foil, and then reduce the sauce to a desired consistency. To serve, slice breast meat and slightly fan out the slices over cooked noodles or rice. Pour the sauce over the meat and pasta. Garnish with some fruit and greenery.
note: duck meat is more tender when cooked rare to medium and can become tough if over cooked.
Serves 4, but some may say just 2 servings (I can think of one hunter in particular). If you would like nutritional consultation regarding serving sizes please call my office at Seneca CCE, but keep in mind a portion of meat should be 3 ounces which is about the size of a deck of cards.