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Old 09-14-2014, 11:10 AM   #21
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I'll bet they shrank a lot in the pan.
They don't look like mallard. Mallard has a red meat and no fat. They look like domestic (farmed) duck breasts to me. Growing up in MN, we ate a lot of wild mallard and goose, but none of them had fat on them.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:32 AM   #22
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I'll bet they shrank a lot in the pan.
Oh, absolutely they did. My favorite thing about making duck is all the fat that renders off during the cooking process. I ended up with about a cup and half of it.

So for the next several weeks, we'll be having eggs cooked in duck fat, potatoes cooked in duck fat, veggies cooked in duck fat, etc....
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:51 AM   #23
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They don't look like mallard. Mallard has a red meat and no fat. They look like domestic (farmed) duck breasts to me. Growing up in MN, we ate a lot of wild mallard and goose, but none of them had fat on them.
I know these weren't farmed ducks, but they don't look like Mallard to me, either. I've had Mallard before, and you're right about them having less fat (although they do have a layer of fat on them). I should have posted a photo of the other side. The meat was very dark red, and super flavorful. Just a little gamey, but not like some wild duck I've had.

I also can't verify that they came from Minnesota, for that matter. It could easily have been from one of our neighboring states. My buddy likes to hunt duck and pheasant, but neither he nor his wife eat them. Instead he gives them to friends and family. I got him some hop rhizomes and grapevine cuttings, and this is what he gave me in return.
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Old 09-14-2014, 11:58 AM   #24
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Oh, absolutely they did. My favorite thing about making duck is all the fat that renders off during the cooking process. I ended up with about a cup and half of it.

So for the next several weeks, we'll be having eggs cooked in duck fat, potatoes cooked in duck fat, veggies cooked in duck fat, etc....
Steve, I've never had the opportunity to cook duck breasts, actually I've never seen them in the store either. If I can track some down, it sounds worthwhile just for the duck fat I hear is delicious. Do you season the breasts before rendering the fat? I'd assume you want the fat unseasoned, right?
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:02 PM   #25
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Steve, I've never had the opportunity to cook duck breasts, actually I've never seen them in the store either. If I can track some down, it sounds worthwhile just for the duck fat I hear is delicious. Do you season the breasts before rendering the fat? I'd assume you want the fat unseasoned, right?
Kayelle, I've only found them frozen, so check the freezer section. I haven't made them in a long time, but I think I did season them first - not thinking about wanting the fat unseasoned I'm curious about what Steve does, too. He seems to make them much more often
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:11 PM   #26
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Steve, I've never had the opportunity to cook duck breasts, actually I've never seen them in the store either. If I can track some down, it sounds worthwhile just for the duck fat I hear is delicious. Do you season the breasts before rendering the fat? I'd assume you want the fat unseasoned, right?
I season them and score the skin before cooking. The rendering and cooking are really one and the same.

You put them skin (and fat) side down into the pan cold and turn on the burner to low. As the pan begins to heat up, the fat is rendered off and that's what the duck cooks in. As more and more fat collects in the pan, I just spoon it off into a collecting container so the duck becomes crisp, rather than greasy.

Once the skin is browned, you flip it over and cook it long enough to sear the other side. Then pop the pan into a 400 degree oven for about 7 or 8 minutes to finish them.

Yes, there is definitely some seasoning in the fat, but the same can be said for bacon grease, which has a similar quality. You wouldn't want to use it for something like baking a cake. But for oven roasted potatoes, it's delicious.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:59 PM   #27
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Thanks GG and Steve. Now I'm "hunting" for duck, city style.

The next question is how do you traditionally season them?
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:17 PM   #28
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Duck is one of my very favorites. I did a duck breast last week as part of my "Andy eats whatever he wants" extravaganza. Most of the cooking happens on the first side as you are rendering the fat and browning/crisping the skin. I cook the breast to medium.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:51 PM   #29
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Thanks GG and Steve. Now I'm "hunting" for duck, city style.

The next question is how do you traditionally season them?
I like to keep it simple. S&P is all I normally season with, although I once tried a Gordon Ramsey recipe where you rub crushed szechuan pepper onto it. That was good, too.

To add additional flavor, a pan sauce is often used. Fruit sauces go well with duck. The one we had last night was a reduction of red wine, a little stock, honey, and some fresh raspberries.

I should also mention that, like Andy, I like duck pink in the middle. It's one of those meats that if you overcook, turns dry and inedible.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:25 PM   #30
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Thanks GG and Steve. Now I'm "hunting" for duck, city style.

The next question is how do you traditionally season them?
Same here - S&P for seasoning and I made a cherry pan sauce for them.
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