The other day I noticed a little duck stuck in the mud where the dam is dropping down at the edges. I quickly ran to get Matt as I thought he would relish the chance to save the little thing. I was so wrong.
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(NSFV – Not Safe for Vegetarians)
Over the Christmas break my partner and I have been out at our little farm, three hours out of Brisbane, building a cabin. This has been an ongoing project for the last six or so months and is finally getting to the point where we’re seeing real progress. But with no internet connection, and no restaurants in the vicinity, this blog post is fresh off the farm.
We’re building a cabin because there’s nowhere to stay out here. There’s no house, no kitchen, no power and no running water. This presents a few key issues for someone like me who doesn’t like to forego a good meal at the end of a day. During winter, this wasn’t such an ordeal, because the nights are cold enough to prevent most food from going off.
Now it’s summer, we have some serious issues! We have invested in an expensive esky that guarantees to keep ice up to five days. Ours lasts 24 hours. Max. Keeping the three of us (myself, Matt, and dog ‘Lady’) well nourished with good, tasty meals can be challenging. After long days of manual labour in the sun, we need something of substance in the evenings to keep us going the next day.
The other day I noticed a little duck stuck in the mud where the dam is dropping down at the edges. I quickly ran to get Matt as I thought he would relish the chance to save the little thing. I was so wrong. Long story short, after the duck dislodged itself from the mud and was chased around the dam by both of us on a kayak wielding wooden stakes (this was by far the most exciting day of the dog’s life), we had ourselves our next meal.
Matt plucked, butchered and cleaned the duck, and handed me the quartered bird. Neither of us could believe just how tiny the pieces were in the end. It did make me wonder what kind of gigantic, hormone-laden beasts are sold in the shops these days. With limited food stocks here in our cabin tent, I had slim pickings to cook the duck with.
To start, I tossed the duck pieces in seasoned flour, shook them off and seared them with a little butter and olive oil in the camp oven. The pieces were set aside, and into the pot went crushed tomatoes, white wine and the cleaned duck carcass. Once that had reduced down somewhat, the carcass was discarded, and the duck pieces went back in. We slow cooked this in the camp oven as long as we could bear, and just on the point of over-heating, we pulled it out and plated up. With the morning’s damper on hand to mop up the sauce, I have to say, it was an incredible meal. The flavour of the wild duck was so different to any duck I’d tasted before, and so much better. There was a delicate gaminess to it that I can’t compare to any other meat.
I hate to say it, but, as cute as that little duck was, I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity to make this dish again.