Minnesota Outdoorsman - Minnesota Fishing and Hunting Reports
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6 Venison Tenderloin Recipes You Have to Try

By Celby Richoux


Venison tenderloin: it's what's for dinner.

While many hunters enjoy processing their meat into jerky, we immediately turn to the tenderloin (one of the most tender cuts of meat) to celebrate a successful hunt (and holidays too, I guess).

The perfect venison recipe varies by household, but these six are an excellent sampling of what we'll be trying out with our harvest this season.

Which one sounds the best to you?

1. Venison Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce

This delicious and simple recipe is the perfect way to highlight the subtle game notes in venison with blackberry, a wonderful berry for pairing with red meats.

VenisonTenderloin_BlackberrySauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb venison tenderloin or backstrap
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tbspblackberry jam
  • Salt/pepper

Directions: 

Make the marinade by mixing the wine and the mustard. Salt and pepper the venison and cover and marinate with mustard mix. Put it in the refrigerator for at least six hours. When ready, remove the meat from marinade.

Heat a skillet with some two tablespoons of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil. Brown the tenderloin over medium-high heat until medium rare, five minutes on each side.

Cover tenderloin with tin foil; it will still be cooking.

Deglaze the pan with chicken stock; reduce by half and add the jam. Cook until the marinade thickens and serve over sliced venison.


2. Venison Medallions with Whiskey, Mushroom & Horseradish Cream Sauce

This recipe had us at venison and whiskey, but throwing in a hearty and flavorful cream sauce is what really put this recipe on our list.

The benefit of cream-based mushroom sauces is your ability to experiment with different varieties of fungi. One of our personal favorites are crimini mushrooms, which give an extra punch of earthy flavor to any dish.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Venison tenderloin
  • Kosher/sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup of whiskey
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of sour cream, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. of prepared horseradish, or to taste
  • 1 tbs. of chives, chopped
  • Milk, a few tablespoons

Directions: 

  • Season the venison with salt and pepper
  • Chop one cup of mushrooms and 1/2 cup onion
  • Saute onions in pan with two tablespoons butter
  • Add mushrooms; cook for another five minutes
  • Turn burner off and pour 1/2 cup of whiskey into pan. Cook until alcohol evaporates-- about a minute
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of beef broth and reduce by half
  • Reduce heat to low and whisk 1/2 cup of sour cream and 1 teaspoon of horseradish--or to taste
  • Whisk in the milk and chopped chives; salt and pepper to taste
  • Grill venison until medium rare
  • Serve marinade over venison medallions


3. Belgian Venison Medallions

This age-old recipe calls on the unique flavor of juniper and its incredible ability to pair well with wild game.

While this recipe does not come with accompanying sides, we're big fans of roasted fingerling potatoes with a splash of olive oil and a healthy dose of fresh herbs and chopped garlic.

VenisonTenderloin_BelgianJuniper

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound venison backstrap or loin
  • 3 tablespoons lard or butter
  • Salt
  • Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 shot of gin (not the good stuff)
  • 1/4 cup demi-glace or reduced beef or venison stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground juniper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

Directions:

  • Salt venison; set aside for 30-60 minutes
  • Heat butter or lard and sear venison three-five minutes on each side; medium rare venison is best
  • Add shallot and saute; turn the heat off and add gin
  • Cook alcohol down with high heat and add crushed juniper, rosemary and demi-glace or beef/venison stock
  • Turn off heat and whisk in sour cream. You should be able to make a trail with the spoon for desired thickness
  • Serve over venison medallions and garnish with pomegranate seeds


4. Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Venison Tenderloin

What would this list be without something bacon-wrapped? This recipe has a lot of room for interpretation and adaptation, but we still believe in the tried-and-true method of wrapping it in bacon and throwing that bad boy on the grill.

VenisonTenderloin_GrilledBacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb venison tenderloin
  • 3/4 lb bacon
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • Meat seasoning blend of your choice (garlic, paprika, onion powder, cumin, thyme, salt, pepper is our go-to)
  • Cherry wood for smoking on grill

Directions: 

Marinate the venison in a cup of white wine. Season with your favorite herbs and spices. Wrap the venison in bacon strips and use toothpicks to keep the strips in place. Grill venison tenderloin until medium-rare, a minute on each side. Close grill and cook for additional 30-45 minutes over indirect heat. Internal temperature should read 145-160 F.

Serve; enjoy.


5. Char-Grilled Venison Tenderloin with Smoky Chipotle Rub and Three-Herb Chimichurri

Giving your game meat a subtle smokiness and pairing it with a bright, herbaceous sauce is a sure-fire way to impress your fellow deer hunters who have sliced, diced, and served up venison in every way imaginable.

Pull this one out on a cool night and watch as empty plates leave the table.

VenisonTenderloin_Chimichurri

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Venison tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for sear)
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (for sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 very small onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups (packed) stemmed fresh parsley
  • 2 cups (packed) stemmed fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup (packed) stemmed fresh mint

Directions:

Mix all the spices together. Coat the tenderloins in the mix. Grill on medium high until medium rare.

To make the chimichurri add the olive oil and red wine into a blender. Squeeze in some lemon and add garlic, quartered onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Blend until smooth and then add cilantro and a quarter of the mint. Puree and then keep adding the rest of the mint.

Serve over venison medallions and enjoy!


6. Maple Juniper Venison Loin with Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus, Leek and Potato Mash

Chocolate and meat? We know, you think we're crazy, but listen up - this pairing could change your life.

Familiar face with the addition of juniper berries, but this dish relies heavily on the rich, velvety red wine jus. This culinary masterpiece is sure to please the most elevated of palates as well as any meat-and-potatoes good ol' boys.

Maple Juniper Beef tenderloin with Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus, Leek and Potato Mash Cole Nicholson

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) juniper berries
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 venison loin or beef tenderloin (about 2 lbs/1 kg)
  • Pinch each salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus:

  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green part, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) Meritage wine
  • 2 cups (500 mL) beef or venison stock
  • 3 oz (90 g) 90% dark bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar

Leek and Potato Puree:

  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
  • 1 leek, white and light green part, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 1 1/4 lb (625 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) 35% whipping cream, heated

Directions:

Leek and Potato Puree: Heat a tablespoon of butter and cook leeks for 10 minutes of until soft. Stir in parsley and salt. Bring potatoes and thyme to boil in a pot of water. Cook until tender--20 minutes. Drain and mash potatoes. Add cream and rest of the butter until creamy. Add leek and parsley and stir.

Maple Juniper Beef Tenderloin: Combine maple syrup, juniper berries, thyme and garlic. Marinate tenderloins in mixture for half an hour. Season with salt and pepper and roast in 450 F oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temp. to 2745 F and roast for an hour. Slice and let rest. Internal temperature should be 145 F.

Chocolate Infused Red Wine Jus: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat and saute carrots, onion, leeks and bay leaves--until softened and brown. Add wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add beef or venison stock and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan. Whisk in chocolate and rest of butter until smooth.

Serve venison medallions with sauce and potato puree.


These marinades will even make the most anti wild game eater love the taste of venison.

Bon appetit!




Conservation Wins Big in the 2018 Farm Bill

Photo © John Hoffman, Ducks Unlimited

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dec. 20, 2018 – After being passed by Congress, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the Farm Bill, was signed into law by President Trump. The Farm Bill represents the largest and most important investment in private lands conservation in the country. This bipartisan legislation delivers strong voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that promote healthy wildlife habitats benefiting all Americans.

“On behalf of the more than one million members and supporters of Ducks Unlimited, we’d like to thank Congress for their steadfast support of our nation’s wetlands and waterfowl through the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “By providing full-funding for the conservation title, Congress ensures these voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs will continue to create opportunities to work with farmers, ranchers and landowners across the country. Without their cooperation, Ducks Unlimited could not reach our goal of filling the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever."

Ducks Unlimited was pleased to see the following priorities included in the 2018 Farm Bill:

Conservation Compliance – Maintains a strong link between conservation compliance and federal farm programs, protecting wetlands in agricultural landscapes.

 

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) – Increases total funding by $2 billion over 10 years and allows greater participation in the program in priority areas by raising county enrollment caps. The bill also provides flexibility for grazing and wetland restoration on Wetland Reserve Easements to maximize benefits to wetlands and wildlife.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) – Increases annual funding to $300 million and makes several programmatic improvements that will provide greater flexibility for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, partners and producers to implement projects. This will allow DU to renew successful RCPP projects and expand this proven partnership model to additional priority landscapes.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) – Raises the enrollment cap to 27 million acres, expands opportunities for grazing on CRP and continues to incentivize high-value wetlands and water quality practices.

Working Lands – Provides a robust increase in funding for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, doubles the wildlife set-aside to 10 percent and allows longer contracts for wildlife practices, including those that maintain high-value wetlands and promote post-harvest flooding.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.


Five Simple Panfish Recipes

Panfish are fun to catch, and even more fun to eat. Here are fail-proof recipes for a panfish fry that will leave your dinner guests begging for seconds.


Broiled Bass with Hot Melted Butter

1 1/2 lb. white or yellow bass fillets
1 cup butter or margarine
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. prepared mustard
2 tb. chili sauce
2 drops Tabasco sauce
4 tsp. lemon juice
2 tb. chopped parsley

Directions: Melt butter and stir in the last six ingredients. Pour enough of the butter mix into the bottom of a large glass baking dish and swirl around to coat the dish. Place the fish fillets in a single layer in the dish, then pour the remaining butter mix overtop. Broil, 4 to 6 inches beneath the heat source, for 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Pan-Fried Crappie

2 lb. crappie
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
3 eggs, beaten
Salt, pepper
Peanut oil

Directions: Mix corn meal and flour in a large zip-seal plastic bag. Salt and pepper each fillet, dip in egg, then shake in bag until coated with meal/flour mixture. Drop fillets in hot oil poured 1 to 2-inches deep in a cast-iron skillet. Cook fillets 1 to 2 minutes each or until they flake with a fork.


Bullhead Po' Boys

6 fried bullhead fillets
1 cup ketchup
3 dashes hot sauce
1 tb. minced onion
1 tb. prepared mustard
6 large crusty rolls
Dill pickles

Directions: Cut rolls in half, lengthwise, scoop out centers and discard. Place rolls in oven until hot but not crispy. Combine ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, and onion. Spread hot rolls with this mixture, then top with fish, pickles, and the top half of the roll.


Panfish with Herbs

1 lb. panfish fillets
1 lemon
1 tsp. each chopped parsley, chives, and rosemary
1 tb. butter

Directions: Melt the butter and pour into a shallow baking dish. Arrange the fish fillets in the dish. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze about one tablespoon of lemon juice over the fillets. Sprinkle with the herbs. Slice the remaining lemon half into thin slices, and arrange the slices on top of the fish. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.


Perch Cakes

1 lb. fillets, cooked, flaked
1 egg, beaten
1 onion, minced
1 tb. lemon juice
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
2 tb. mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
Vegetable oil

Directions: Mix egg, onion, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl; toss with flaked fish. Add enough cornflake crumbs to shape 4 to 6 fish cakes. Roll each cake in extra crumbs to coat the outside. Heat the oil in a skillet, and fry cakes until crisp and brown.


Another school of thought about what causes chronic wasting disease in deer

 

By Jeff Mulhollem


A lot of what you have heard and read about the cause of chronic wasting disease is in doubt – or maybe not. It depends on which scientists you believe. Seems there is and has been a controversy brewing on the subject for years. Who knew?

The controversy centers around prions, those mysterious non-bacteria, non-virus particles that we have been told for years somehow cause the disease. (Teddy Roosevelt Partnership)

The controversy centers around prions, those mysterious non-bacteria, non-virus particles that we have been told for years somehow cause the disease.


They were discovered in 1982 by neurologist Dr. Stanley Prusiner. He suggested that those “misfolded proteins” cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies – brain diseases like chronic wasting disease, mad cow and sheep scrapie. Prusiner won a Nobel Prize for his achievement, setting off a flurry of  prion-based research.

Today, 99 percent of scientists believe prions cause CWD. That’s why we haven’t heard about the alternate theory until now. And maybe they are right, I can’t say. But you should know that there is another school of thought about what causes chronic wasting disease in deer.

A few scientists are conducting alternative research. The most prominent is Dr. Frank Bastian, a pathologist at Louisiana State University. He argues that a unique super-bacteria known as spiroplasma causes transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as CWD.

He has been saying that for a long time. Way back in  2007, Bastian injected strains of spiroplasma into laboratory deer, sheep and goats. Some of the animals showed clinical signs of disease in just 1.5 months. One deer reportedly contracted CWD in 3.5 months, and all deer tested CWD positive in 5.5 months.

Bastian believes that prions are just a marker for diseases like CWD. Most recently, in 2017, Bastian published findings in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology, (a respected journal), where he was able to isolate spiroplasma from the brains and lymph nodes of CWD-infected deer.

What this means, we’re told, is that Bastian is now able to grow spiroplasma in a lab, which can have enormous ramifications for better understanding and managing CWD in the wild.

“We can now test susceptibility to drugs, and produce a killed organism to produce a vaccine that can be given to animals,” Bastian was quoted as saying on the Deer and Deer Hunting website last July. Bastian’s research, some say, may also lead to a test kit that hunters can use in the field right after harvesting a deer to determine if it has CWD.

To that end, leaders of the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania report that they have entered into an agreement with LSU to support Dr. Bastian’s work. They say Unified will provide an undisclosed amount of grant funding to LSU to help pay for him to continue and complete his chronic wasting disease research.

In return, they say, LSU will provide the organization with “first stage diagnostic tests” for Pennsylvania hunters to test deer in the field after harvest for chronic wasting disease infection. Will other sportsmen’s groups around the country follow Unified’s lead?

It will be interesting to watch how the Pennsylvania Game Commission, other state wildlife management agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the scientific community in general react to this promotion of the alternate theory about CWD being caused by super bacteria and not prions.

So far, apparently, they have carefully ignored it. But with so little progress being made in reining in the disease steadily spreading through North America deer and elk herds, perhaps it is time for a fresh look at the culprit spreading CWD.


Five Classic Waterfowl Recipes

 

The Sporting Chef offers new variations on traditional duck and goose dishes

Photo © Woody Woodliff

8 MIN READ

 

By Scott Leysath
Photography by Woody Woodliff

Classic recipes aren't necessarily dishes that most people have actually had the opportunity to enjoy, but they do have a very traditional ring to them. There's boeuf bourguignon, duck á l'orange, lobster thermidor, and pheasant under glass, which simply involves serving a sautéed pheasant breast under a glass lid that captures the aromatic essence of the dish. Classic doesn't always mean fine dining, but the next time you serve your favorite duck dish, you might want to place a glass bowl over the plate and call it "duck under glass" to impress your guests.

Traditional waterfowl recipes are often less hoity-toity. Roasted wild goose has been a popular dish for generations, and so too has duck gumbo. Simple, hearty meals were probably the norm at the time of DU's formation, when some ingredients were hard to come by and a dollar had to be stretched during the hardscrabble days of the Great Depression. It's not difficult, however, to imagine Joseph Knapp and some of the other well-heeled founders of DU dining on teal á l'orange and similar wild duck haute cuisine. 

5recipesJF17_1

Photo © Woody Woodliff

 

RECIPE ONE: TEAL Á L'ORANGE

Teal rank at the top of many lists of best-eating ducks. These diminutive fast fliers are one of the few ducks that can be cooked whole rather than in parts. However, this twist on a classic recipe features teal breast fillets over orange slices and basil leaves. 

Cooking Time: 25–30 minutes 
Serves: 4
 

Ingredients

  • 12 teal breast fillets, preferably with skin intact 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces 
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur 
  • 12 orange slices 
  • 12 basil leaves 

Marinade 

  • 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Step 1 Season the teal breast fillets liberally with salt and pepper. Combine the marinade ingredients and whisk to blend. Place the teal and marinade in a resealable plastic bag. Toss to coat evenly and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours. Remove the teal from the marinade and pat dry.

Step 2 Heat 1/4 cup of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the teal fillets in the skillet, skin side down, and cook them until the skin is lightly browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip them over and cook the other side for 2 minutes for medium-rare—or longer to desired doneness. Remove the teal and keep them warm. 

Step 3 Remove the skillet from the heat and set it away from any open flame. Slowly add orange liqueur to the skillet, but use caution—adding alcohol to a hot skillet may cause it to ignite. Please keep yourself and anything flammable away from the skillet, adding the liquid slowly and carefully.  

Step 4 Place the skillet over medium heat and reduce the liquid by half. Remove from the heat and whisk in remaining butter until smooth. To serve, arrange 3 orange slices and 3 basil leaves on each plate, then top with teal fillets, pan sauce, and caramelized onions.

5recipesJF17_2

Photo © Woody Woodliff

 

RECIPE TWO: ROASTED WILD GOOSE

The classic picture of a plump goose on a roasting platter, flanked by roasted fruits and vegetables, undoubtedly depicts a farm-raised bird. However, roasting a wild goose whole will result in parts that are edible and others that are less so. This recipe solves that dilemma by giving the legs a head start in a tenderizing broth. 

Cooking Time: 2 1/2–3 hours 
Serves: 4
 

Ingredients 

  • 2 goose breast fillets, skin intact 
  • 2 or more goose legs 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 
  • Olive oil 
  • Beef, chicken, or game broth 
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces

Directions

Step 1 Rub the goose legs and breast fillets on all sides with salt and pepper. Wrap the breast fillets in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator.

Step 2 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add a thin layer of olive oil to an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Place the goose legs in the skillet and brown evenly on all sides. Add about 1 inch of broth and bring to a boil. Remove the skillet from the heat and cover with a lid or foil. Place the skillet in the preheated oven, then check for doneness after 2 hours. The meat on the legs should have receded to the joint and should pull away from the bone with moderate pressure. If more cooking time is needed, add additional broth to the skillet, replace the lid or foil, and continue cooking until the meat is tender. Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate or pan, and keep warm.

Step 3 Increase oven heat to 400°F. Rinse and dry the ovenproof skillet (or use another one), add a thin layer of olive oil, and heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the goose breast fillets, skin side down, in the skillet and cook until the skin is lightly browned and crispy. Flip over, add red wine, and stir to deglaze any bits stuck to the pan. Add reserved legs and garlic, stir, then place the pan uncovered in the preheated oven for about 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare—or longer to desired doneness. 

Step 4 Allow the breast fillets to rest for a few minutes before slicing and arranging them on plates with the legs. Whisk the butter into the skillet and spoon the pan sauce over the sliced goose. 

5recipesJF17_3

Photo © Woody Woodliff

 

RECIPE THREE: PAN-SEARED DUCK BREAST WITH WILD RICE

This simple recipe is a variation on the traditional pairing of ducks with wild rice. While stuffing wild ducks can lead to overcooking, this dish turns duck breast fillets into tender, mouthwatering morsels. The secret is to brine the fillets first, then pan-sear them quickly on high heat.  

Cooking Time: 20–25 minutes
Serves: 4
 

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 medium to large duck breast fillets, skin on or off 
  • Olive oil 

Brine

  • 1 quart ice-cold water 
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt 
  • 3 tablespoons crushed peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions

Step 1 Heat 1 cup of the ice-cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining brine ingredients—except water—and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir until salt is dissolved. Allow to cool completely. Add remaining ice-cold water. Place the duck breast fillets in brine and refrigerate for 12 hours. Remove from brine and  pat dry.

Step 2 Heat a thin layer of oil in a medium-hot skillet. Brown the duck breast fillets evenly on both sides. Allow to rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then slice and serve over wild rice and roasted bell peppers.

5recipesJF17_4

Photo © Woody Woodliff

 

RECIPE FOUR: MARINATED DUCK LETTUCE WRAPS

This easy dish is a tribute to Peking duck, which typically requires a few days to prepare. If more pronounced flavor is desired, allow the duck fillets to marinate for up to 24 hours. 

Cooking Time: 15–20 minutes 
Serves: 4
 

Ingredients 

  • 4 to 6 medium to large duck breast fillets, skin on or off
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Hoisin sauce 

  • Iceberg lettuce leaves, trimmed 
  • Shredded carrots 
  • Julienned green onions 
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce 

Marinade 

  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • Pinch or two of five-spice powder 

Directions 

Step 1 Combine marinade ingredients and whisk to blend. Place duck breast fillets and marinade in a non-reactive bowl or resealable plastic bag. Toss to coat evenly and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours. Remove duck breast fillets from marinade and pat dry. 

Step 2 Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. If the skin is intact, place the fillets skin side down and cook until skin is crispy. Once browned, flip them over and cook until the other side is medium brown but not overcooked. 

Step 3 Once cooked, place duck breast fillets on a cutting surface and allow them to rest for a few minutes before slicing them thinly across the "grain." Spread a thin layer of hoisin sauce on the lettuce leaves and top with duck, carrots, onions, and Sriracha as desired. Fold the lettuce leaves over and eat with your hands like a taco or burrito.

5recipesJF17_5

Photo © Woody Woodliff

 

RECIPE FIVE: DUCK GUMBO

This classic Louisiana stew is a common menu item in bayou duck camps. There are perhaps more versions of this recipe than any other. Its roots run deep, with influences from a wide range of cultures throughout the world. As with any gumbo recipe, exact measurements are not required or encouraged, but are provided here merely as a general guideline.

Cooking Time: 3 hours 
Serves: 12 to 15
 

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 8 duck breast fillets, skin on or off, diced into 1- to 2-inch pieces 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups each chopped celery, onion, and peppers 
  • 4–6 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 quarts chicken stock 
  • 3 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 teaspoon each cayenne pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder 
  • 2 teaspoons filé powder 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra 
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 
  • 2 pounds shrimp (peeled, deveined, and preferably wild-caught) 
  • 1 cup seeded and finely diced tomatoes 
  • Warm cooked rice 
  • Hot sauce 

Directions 

Step 1 Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Season the duck liberally with salt and pepper and add it to the pot. Cook, stirring often, until the duck pieces are evenly browned. Add celery, onion, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

Step 2 Add chicken stock, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and filé powder. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer until duck pieces are very tender, about 2 hours. While simmering, heat remaining oil in a small pot. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture (roux) is chocolate brown but not burnt. If the roux burns, start over. Once the roux reaches chocolate color, remove it from the heat and transfer to a heat-safe container. Allow to cool completely.

Step 3 Once the duck pieces are very tender, whisk in cooled roux. Add okra and sausage, then cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes. Toss in shrimp and tomatoes, and cook until shrimp turns pink. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve in bowls over rice with hot sauce.


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