Waterfowl Season

One of my big goals for this year was for Cody and I to source more of our own food. While I did manage to put away some fireweed jelly for winter, I’ve been slacking on some of my normal activities because I’ve just been so busy. Thankfully, my husband has jumped in to save the day.

Waterfowl season is in full swing on the tundra and we happen to live in a huge bird migration area. Cody has been going out almost daily. He’s managed to get multiple ducks and geese. One of the ducks we traded for some caribou meat (score!) and we’ve given a couple of the geese away to other community members as trades for other items.

To hunt, Cody usually has to suit up with chest waders, boots, and a warm jacket. He then heads out on his four-wheeler and drives around the tundra looking for birds. They are ridiculously abundant here, so it really isn’t too super hard to find them. It is time consuming though because once you have located the birds you have to slog through the swampy tundra (hence the need for waders) to get close enough to shoot them and go get the ones you kill. After he kills them, he drives them back to our friends smoke house and he hangs them for about 24hrs. Once they’ve been in the smokehouse for a day he prepares them for the freezer.

Here’s where I’m hoping you lovely readers can help me. I’ve been a vegetarian almost my entire life and Cody isn’t exactly a master chef. Do any of you lovely people have good duck or goose recipes you can share with me? We are also hoping to get a crane (they a local favorite) and I’m proactively looking for a recipe for that as well. I’d love to hear suggestions!

8 Responses to Waterfowl Season

  1. I have zero experience with cooking duck or goose, but I am a huge fan of the site allrecipes.com and a quick look shows they have recipe categories for both birds. The comments and ratings from real people on the recipes is great, and I rarely have a disappointment using recipes from their site.

  2. Hey Hannah, I’ve never cooked duck or goose either, but Hank Shaw is a fairly famous blogger and author of game recipes that you might want to check out. His blog is Hunter Angler Gardener Cook and he has one cookbook called Duck, Duck, Goose. Here’s his bio on Simply Recipes which is where I first heard about him. http://www.simplyrecipes.com/author/hank-shaw/

  3. I’ve never cooked either bird, but I know duck confit is supposed to be pretty excellent. Even better it was concocted as a way to preserve duck. Basically, you store the duck in its own fat and then you cook it later. I’m sure its a lot more involved than that, but its a thought.
    Also, since duck breasts are supposed to be pretty fatty, I think you’re supposed to score the skin before cooking. It helps the fat render and the skin get crispy.
    And maybe in the interest of no waste, you could try pate?

  4. It can be treated a bit like you would treat chicken. If you stuff a couple of the birds in the crockpot with water and minimal spices, cook on low for about 4-6 hours, remove them, cool and then remove the meat. (this is also very forgiving if you don’t get every little feather, etc off) The meat can be vacuum sealed into dinner portion sizes. That meat can then be used to make quick evening meals like burritos, nachos, or taco. To use, simmer the meat with a can of pureed tomatoes and taco spices. I also like to use it for white chicken chili (but with whatever bird it is, just use an online recipe, I actually use the packet of seasoning from McCormicks for it), and Vietnamese noodle soup (called Pho). Also, game birds can be tough, so if you want to roast it and eat, I would recommend brining first (like for smoking salmon), just go easy on the time in the brine as the birds can get too salty too fast. That meat can be removed and vacuum sealed as well for later use. It has a sturdier texture than the meat in the crockpot, so it is good for making chicken-style salads or casseroles

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