Had a good hunting season? Freezer full of duck? Same here. Grab a packet of breasts (with skin on of course) and defrost them. This should only take a few hours. When you’re freezing your duck, make sure you’re packing the duck as you’re going to use...typically in servings of 2, 4, 6. Try and get the portions the same size. If you had a good teal shoot, put the teal breasts in a different freezer packet than your fat mallards. This will help ensure consistent cooking. Now back to this recipe... this will serve 2, so defrost 6 widgeon or 4 mallard breasts.

Once defrosted, rinse off and dry. Then score the fat. Scoring is running a very sharp knife through the fat making a checkerboard pattern. Try not to cut deep enough in the fat that you get to the meat. Also make sure you run that knife to the very edges of the fat.

Place the scored breasts meat side down on a plate that will fit in your fridge.

Mix together dry rub:

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon curry

Rub this all over the top of the scored duck breasts. Stick in fridge uncovered overnight or even for 2 nights.

Grab a big skillet. If you have a cast iron one, that’s the best pretty much always. Put the breasts skin side down and make sure they have some room in between them. Render the fat out of these breasts on almost the lowest heat on your burner. Rendering can’t be rushed. If you try and rush this by turning the heat up, something happens to the fat and it decides not to melt. You just end up with chewy fat. So make sure you know this will take some time. I’ve had mine rendering for an hour on the lowest heat and it’s been perfect. You won’t see anything happening for about 15 minutes and then you’ll see the liquid gold melting into the pan. This is when you want to get some rice going.

You’ll know your breasts have been rendered properly when you look at the skin and it’s thin and crispy and golden brown. At this point, take them out of the skillet, put on a cutting board and just let them sit there with a piece of tin foil laid over top. And yes, you have not cooked the other side of the breast. When these are resting, they will continue to “cook” and will turn out perfect.

If you have more than a tablespoon of liquid gold in your skillet, lucky you, put in a glass container and still in your fridge to use instead of olive oil. Back to the skillet...put on medium/low and toss in:

  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1 chopped garlic (just a piece, not the bulb)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 6 maraschino cherries quartered. I leave the stem on the quarters 4 tablespoons chicken stock
  • About the same of brandy or bourbon.

Once you get the alcohol in the pan, toss a match over the top and let it flame up and burn out the alcohol. You will be putting on a great little show and at the same time reducing your sauce. Make sure you reduce it just enough that it’s not too watery and not too thick. You’ll know when it looks good.

Back to the duck which is ready to be sliced. Slice it from the skin down (you cut from the skin down through the meat). The dry rub flavors will have been cooked into the meat during the rendering process so no need to add any salt/pepper.

Pile up your plates with rice. Lay the duck over the rice and make it look like dominoes look when they fall in a line. You’ll probably have enough to do 2 rows on each plate.

Pour sauce over the top and get ready to party!

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