Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Duck Me

Cuddle Duck - not a table duck. 
I have a blister on my finger from plucking duck. The freezer is full and I have a mountain of cook books from the library, a duck soup in the belly, duck liver pate potted in the fridge and a pan of duck feet on the stove, bubbling in ginger and star anise, almost ready for their final sauce, and forty more of the beautiful creatures eating us out of house and home.


GD has decided that ducks are much more user friendly to farm than cows. A duck won't decide it doesn't like you and try to knock you over if it feels cornered. It might, but you're not going to feel it. He;s spent three days on the new duck run and a small fortress for them to sleep in - snakes up here are big and can get into just about anything, as poor Oscar Wilde Duck found out the hard way, along with about 4 siblings of the ducks in the freezer. There's 200 acres out there - they can get their own dinner.

Muscovies are a cross between a goose and a duck, are very prolific layers and dogged determined clucky mothers. They are easily domesticated, reluctant flyers and their offspring are just about the most adorable baby animals in the vertibrate realm.

Table Ducks - not for cuddling
The lot in the fridge are our first cull of birds with no names. They have been raised for the table since the last couple of old drakes we killed (what we really mean when we say cull) failed to produce any fat! WTF? The whole point of ducks is duck fat - but I have since found that this breed, though producing less fat than others, are prized for their culinary properties. Apparently, chefs like them for their dark, gamey appearance and taste.

I have hung them for three days, and on Saturday plucked and gutted them. My sister came over to help. Thats the deal - help pluck and you take nome your own duck dinner.

Not what you could call fast food - 16 weeks to mature - they are in staged clutches. I nurse hatchlings in a brooder in my stove room then when they are downey enough, they move to the run with their big brothers and sisters. I have a colour code so I can tell with are the eldest

So - from here in in, it's duck recipes all the way down. Geoff is going to have a go a smoking as well.
 For now though, it's raining - finally, and time to plant some snow peas and cabbage to go with braised duck feet in three months time.
The new duck run - very excellent use of a very steep spot

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