Duck, cranberry and wild rice – all three ingredients grow near the water. Using leftover fresh cranberries from the holidays, wild rice I bought during my walleye-fishing trip to Minnesota in late spring, and ducks shot at the beginning of this fall, this is a recipe for the seasons.
The cranberries in the wild rice add a nice tartness that pairs well with dark, fatty duck. If you've never had wild rice before, you'll find that it is firmer and chewier than white rice. It contains twice as much protein as brown rice and provides essential minerals and fewer calories. High in fiber, wild rice is also better for your digestive health.
If you'd like to pair this meal with wine, I suggest cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, merlot, Beaujolais, shiraz, Sangiovese, Grenache and Tempranillo.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
- 4 whole wood or teal ducks or 2 mallards
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
- ½ cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Brown sugar, to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Bring beef broth to a boil and add wild rice. Cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the wild rice reaches desired tenderness. Depending on the brand of wild rice, cooking may take up to 1 hour. Drain excess broth and set aside.
- In another pan or skillet, render chopped bacon over medium heat. Next add chopped onion and sweat until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add chopped cranberries and rice. Season with brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. (Use just enough brown sugar to balance out the cranberries' tartness but don't go overboard.) If desired, stir in butter to taste.
- Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Rinse ducks thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Liberally season skin and inside cavity with salt and pepper.
- Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in a skillet and brown ducks on all sides. If desired, stuff the ducks with some rice before baking in oven for 10-15 minutes for medium-rare. Mix stuffed rice back in with regular rice. Serve ducks whole or breasted out for easier dining.