One of my favorite dishes to order in a restaurant is duck. The first time I had duck was at the now closed LeRuth’s. They served a half duck roasted on top of an oyster dressing with a green peppercorn sauce. More recently, I found a half roasted duck at Brigtsen’s. You usually find duck in a restaurant either served as a half duck or the duck breast. Either way is a great alternative to chicken.
Locally, there are many duck hunters. Stuttgart is the home of Mack’s Prairie Wings, the premier waterfowl sports outfitters in the world. Every year in November, the city holds the World Duck Calling Championship, which brings people of all ages from around the world to compete.
Down in south Louisiana, the Cajuns eat lots of foods that they catch themselves. When they first moved to Louisiana from Canada, they had to learn to live off the land. Hunting and fishing became a way to survive. Ducks, deer and fish are staples in their diet. So today, I am sharing with you two duck dishes prepared Cajun style, one featuring the half duck and one with just the breast.
Cajuns love to smother everything when cooking. The best thing about smothering that you can adapt your recipe to you own taste. To Creolize this dish, add some diced tomatoes. To make that Creolized dish even spiced, use Rotel.
Cajun Smothered Duck
2 Ducks, cleaned
2 tablespoons Creole Seasoning
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Canola Oil
2 large Onions, chopped
2 large Bell Peppers, chopped
1 Celery Rib, chopped
1 cup Green Onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh Parsley, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 cup Chicken Stock, or more if needed
Preheat oven to 300℉.
Wash the ducks and pat dry. Season inside and out with Creole seasoning, then dust outside lightly with flour. Heat the canola oil in a roasting pan over medium-high heat. Brown the ducks in the oil, turning frequently, until the skin begins to crisp on all sides. Remove and keep warm. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon on the oil in the pan. Over medium-low heat, sauté the onions, bell peppers and celery until soft, about 2 minutes. Return the ducks to the roasting pan. Add a cup of chicken stock and bay leaf. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 hours. Every half hour, open the pan and turn the ducks over. Add a little more stock if the pan juices begin to dry out. The ducks are cooked when the meat begins to fall from the leg bones. Remove the ducks from the pan and keep warm. Let the pan contents stand for a few minutes; the fat will rise to the top. Skim and discard the fat. Bring the remaining pan contents to a very light simmer, and reduce until it thickens to a gravy consistency. Add the green onions and the parsley, and add more Creole seasoning to taste. To serve, cut the ducks in half from end to end. Remove and discard the backbone and ribcage and serve with the rest of the sauce.
The most desired part of the duck is the breast. This succulent meat is very versatile in the ways you can cook it. In the deep south, frying is the preferred method of cooking poultry. Here is how they fry duck breast down on the bayou.
Cajun Fried Duck Breast
2 Duck Breast
1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup Cracker Crumbs
Shortening for frying
6 quart heavy skillet, preferably cast iron
Tenderize breast slightly with a meat tenderizer. Cut each breast into 3 equal pieces. Soak in buttermilk for 2 hours. Remove duck from buttermilk, dip in beaten egg, sprinkle with Creole seasoning, and dredge in finely crumbled cracker crumbs. Deep fry in large skillet with 1 inch of shortening at medium heat for 20 minutes a side. Drain on paper towels before serving.
For you hunters who have not reached your limit, you have until January 28th to do so. If you already have your limit, try one of these Cajun recipes. You will be glad you did.