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Duck Duck Goose

October 1, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToo often, I hear people say they don’t fix a type of food because they don’t know how. This, perhaps, is shown few places other than duck and goose. It’s not something many use, and it’s unfamiliar.

At the same time, duck has many fans – and is considered gourmet dining! Duck fat is among the food trends now – but not something you’ll find at the local convenience store.

Recently I had the opportunity to preview a wonderful book from Hank Shaw called “Duck, Duck, Goose” that does an excellent job of telling how to preserve and prepare waterfowl for the table. He does a great job showing the distinction between wild birds and domestic ones. And there was another part that, as owner of SlowMoneyFarm, I was excited to see.

I am a firm believer in the nose-to-tail ethic of meat eating: if an animal died for your dinner plate, you ought to use as much of it as you can. Sermon over. Even if you don’t buy into this belief, two good reasons exist for learning how to cook what is sometimes called the fifth quarter of the animal: thrift and flavor.  Hank Shaw – Duck, Duck, Goose

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are very conscious when we raise an animal or bird to use as much of the animal as we can. That may be as dog treats, or feathers or fur for crafts, or broth. But as much as possible, make use of the life used to feed us.

There are differences between birds, which the author points out:

The amount of fat on duck breasts confounds many beginning cooks. We all enjoy a bit of luxurious fat now and again, but few of us like a big glob of gooey suet in our mouths. The best way to meet this challenge is first to stop thinking of a duck breast as poultry. It’s essentially a steak, and should be cooked like a steak. Your task is to render that fat and crisp that skin, all the while preventing the meat from overcooking. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. Hank Shaw- Duck, Duck, Goose

A variety of foods is good. From a farm standpoint, we find enough value in this book to offer it to our farm share folks who are ordering duck packages. It has enough information that I think it will help get the most from the ducks, as well as prevent needless waste and disappointment.

Each recipe has information and notes, and there’s a thorough look at smoking ducks, as well as special and simple recipes.

For the Arroz Del Cazador (Spanish Hunter’s Rice) notes – “If you like paella, you will love thisdish. It is a cousin of that famous Spanish rice dish, and what makes it so special is that it relies on whatever a hunter brings back that day: the meats in the rice change with every hunt. Obviously duck (or goose) is vital to this recipe, but feel free to include any other meat you’d like. I’ve included chicken thighs here because they are easy to get, but rabbit would be my first choice with the duck.” Hank Shaw – Duck, Duck, Goose

With an appreciation for duck that comes from familiarity of the differences, the author provides a wonderful guide to eating duck and goose. If you’re looking at alternatives, start with checking out this book! It will be available to our farm share customers on request, but easily found at Amazon too!

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