On the farm, most of the ducks we ate were wild. We helped pluck them -- I was fascinated by their green heads and the blue feathers on the wings but I hated the lice running up my arm and would run to the woodstove to drop the nasty things in. Once cleaned, Mom soaked the ducks, stuffed them, and roasted them slowly 2 at a time until they were a rich dark brown & the meat would be falling off the bone.
Oct 24/73? Mom wrote:
I was to Karens helping to kill the rest of her chickens we done Friday 39 chickens. and killed our ducks last Monday will have to do the chickens soon but its so cold so don’t feel like.
STEWED DUCK (Kachka Varena)
Based on Bohdan Zahny’s recipe in THE BEST of UKRAINIAN CUISINE
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour
3 cups vegetable stock or water
1 garlic clove
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup sour cream
· Slice carrots thinly and set aside.
· Chop onions and add to carrots.
· Mince garlic and add to carrots and onions.
· Chop parsley and add to the carrots, etc.
· Cut up duck. Reserve breast to sauté separately. (Or include it in the stew, as Bohdan does.)
· Salt the duck pieces.
· Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the duck for 20 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from pan.
· Pour off most of the fat. (Reserve fat for frying duck breast and potatoes.)
· Return duck to frypan and sprinkle with flour. Fry for 10 more minutes. This will make a lovely rich brown gravy.
· Bring water or stock to a boil in Dutch oven. Take out about a cup of stock.
· Remove duck and put in Dutch oven.
· Pour stock onto frying pan and scrape up all the browning. Add this back into the Dutch oven.
· Add all the reserved vegetables to the Dutch oven and the bayleaf, salt, and pepper. (about ½ tsp salt) Stew 30 minutes.
· Stir in sour cream and taste again for salt.
o You can let this cool and then reheat in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 before serving to company.
· Make life easy for yourself by also sautéing the duck breasts before your company arrives:
o In 2 tbsp hot duck fat, sear breasts that have been sprinkled with seasoned salt. Lower the heat a bit and cook skin side down for 5 minutes. Flip to other side for 5 minutes. Then back to skin side for 3 more minutes.
o Cut into the thickest part of the breasts to see if they are cooked to your liking. I like them medium rare; not raw-looking.
o Reheat before serving and slice thinly so everyone can enjoy some. J Serve separately from the rest of the duck.
o Bohdan suggests serving this duck with fried potatoes.
We've had this duck twice now -- my brother even served it at Thanksgiving this year!