It should come as no surprise that the folks at Delta Waterfowl know about ducks.
After all, they've been conducting waterfowl research since 1938. The folks at Delta know a thing or two about fixing and eating ducks too.
"The Camp Chef column is one of the most popular features in our magazine," said Delta President Rob Olson, a waterfowl scientist who's an avid hunter and a pretty handy fellow in the kitchen. "Our members tell us they enjoy preparing and eating the game they collect almost as much as they enjoy hunting it."
Here are some of Delta's favorite duck and goose recipes:
Rob Olson's Crazy-Good Slow-Roasted Duck starts by injecting the breast of whole, plucked ducks with marinade. He prefers a teriyaki-based marinade using a meat syringe.
Refrigerate the birds overnight, covered.
When it's time to prepare the ducks, sprinkle Cajun seasoning inside and out and then stuff the cavity with apples, onions and/or oranges.
Place the birds breast-side down in a roasting pan and pour enough red wine to cover half an inch in the bottom of the roaster. Any good full-bodied table wine like a merlot or cabernet sauvignon works well.
Cover the roaster with aluminum foil, crimping the edges carefully so the steam can't escape, then bake in a 250-degree oven for three hours.
If you like the skin crispy, rub the birds with garlic-butter and place under 400-degree heat for the last few minutes of cooking.
Cut the birds into pieces and serve with wild rice and the same wine used in the recipe.
Don Morrison's Duck a L'Orange starts by cutting a crosshatch pattern into the skin of up to eight duck breasts, slicing through the skin but not into the meat. The cuts allow some of the fat to escape while the meat is being sautéed.
Place the breasts in a large mixing bowl and brush them with soy sauce, then sprinkle with: One tablespoon cracked black pepper, one teaspoon crushed coriander seeds and then marinate overnight, covered. Bring the breasts to room temperature before preparing.
In a stainless-steel or cast-iron skillet, sauté the breast skin-side down in a few drops of olive oil until the skin is deep brown. Remove the breast to a baking dish skin-side up and place in a 375-degree oven for 12 minutes or until the meat is medium-rare.
It's important not to overcook duck. While the meat is cooking, discard any fat from the skillet and start the sauce by adding: Two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar then stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar caramelizes, which should be about two minutes.
Then add: Two tablespoons of soy sauce, one cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice, one cup of chicken broth (homemade duck stock if you have it) and then bring the liquids to a boil until the sauce is slightly thickened, which should be about five minutes.
To finish the sauce, stir in two tablespoons of Grand Marnier liqueur If the sauce isn't thick enough, stir in a little roux or cornstarch mixed in cold water or white wine.
Remove from heat and stir in two tablespoons of butter. Allow the finished meat to rest for several minutes to seal in the juices, and then slice diagonally. Plate the slices and drizzle with the orange sauce.
A-Package-of-This-and-a-Package-of-That Stew is for hunters with odds and ends that need to be cleaned out of their freezer before hunting season opens.
This catchall stew is great with goose, duck, venison, squirrel, dove, rabbit or just about any combination of wild game.
Start by applying a good spice rub to all the meat. Cut the meat into one-inch chunks, then place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour (overnight is even better).
In a cast-iron Dutch oven, brown the meat thoroughly in two tablespoons of olive oil , adding more if necessary.
When the meat is browned, remove to a bowl and add to the Dutch oven: One cup of onion, sliced, one ring of smoke sausage, sliced (spicy sausage works great) and two cloves of garlic.
When the onion is nicely browned, add to the Dutch oven: One bottle of dark beer, two cups of duck stock (or low-sodium beef broth), a teaspoon of dried thyme and two bay leaves.
Bring the stock to a boil, add the meat, cover and place in a 275-degree oven for at least two hours.
Half an hour before the stew is ready to be served, add two cups of chopped potatoes and carrots. Remove the bay leaves and, if necessary, thicken the gravy with cornstarch or roux. This dish can be prepared ahead of time and re-heated at mealtime (it's better when re-heated).
To make a spice rub, combine in a plastic bag: Three tablespoons of fresh-ground black pepper, four tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of salt, one tablespoon each of cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, ground red pepper flakes and one teaspoon of cayenne.
Kenneth L. Kieser is an outdoor enthusiast who has 35 years of wildlife journalism expertise.