By Hank Shaw
Thanksgiving is for turkeys, hopefully wild turkeys. But that doesn't mean you can't also serve ducks or geese for the big dinner. Just give them a supporting role. Then, at Christmastime, let waterfowl play the lead and wow everyone with a roast goose.
Grind the duck meat up in this recipe with some bacon or pork fat and add it to the stuffing mix. It's a great way to utilize some birds can be challenging in the kitchen.
The meat you use in here is really up to you. Anything from ground up giblets, which is what I prefer, to leg or breast meat. If I am not using giblets, I tend to grind up sea ducks or snow geese, which are ideal for mixing with bacon. Any pre-ground meat works, though.
As for the mushrooms, that's dealer's choice, too. Anything from regular button mushrooms to whatever wild mushroom you have available. Fresh is fine, but you can also use dried mushrooms, rehydrated in some hot water. If you go this route, strain the mushroom water through a paper towel to remove any debris and use that for 50% of the broth or stock.
I really like using wild rice here, as well as wild black walnuts. They just go well with wild waterfowl. But you can skip the wild rice if you can't find it, and use any nut you like to the duck stuffing.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 12 ounces duck or goose meat
- 4 ounces pork fat or bacon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ½ pound mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 pound of stuffing cubes or stale bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup cooked wild rice (optional)
- 2 cups duck or chicken broth
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Start by grinding together the wildfowl meat and bacon or pork fat. It's your choice on how fine to grind it, but I prefer a medium grind for a duck stuffing. You can also use 1 pound of pre-ground meat of any kind.
- Brown this in a large frying pan over medium heat to render out some fat. When the sausage is nice and browned, remove to a bowl for now. Add the chopped onion, celery and mushrooms and add the butter. Turn the heat to medium-high and saute until the vegetables are just beginning to brown, about 6 minutes.
- Add the sage, salt and black pepper, and the nuts, wild rice and bread cubes. Mix well and then pour in the duck or chicken stock. When the bread has soaked all this up and you have a shaggy mass, move the stuffing to the meat bowl. Mix well.
- Mix in the beaten eggs and pack the mixture into a casserole pan. Bake until the top browns, about 45 minutes.
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