A good duck hunt can often produce a mixed bag of dabblers, often called puddle ducks. Most dabblers are bigger ducks with breasts you can butterfly without making them too thin and prone to overcooking. Mallard, pintail, gadwall and wigeon are excellent options for making this recipe.
With different varieties grown, fresh figs are most commonly found in the fall and winter. You may have to look at middle-east markets or specialty grocery stores to find figs, but they should be readily available in the fall. As a fresh fruit, figs are a little lackluster. The flavor is delicate, and eating them with the skin can make them have a dry or dusty taste. However, anyone that has eaten dried, jam, or cooked figs will know that it brings out the sweetness and a robust flavor that makes you wonder if it is the same fruit.
This recipe does not have a long list of ingredients but strongly delivers on flavor. Duck and fruit go well together, and adding a rich cheese, like smoked gouda, is a great way to create a new and exciting meal, like a kicked-up version of cordon bleu for wild duck.
• 8 large duck breasts, skinless and boneless
• 4 slices of smoked gouda, halved
• 8 fresh figs, sliced
• 8 slices bacon
• sweet chili sauce, jalapeño jelly or other dipping sauce optional
1. Wash, clean and butterfly the breasts.
2. Slice fresh figs into four pieces, and align flat on one side of each duck breast.
3. Slice the smoked gouda into strips to fit over the other side of the duck breasts, then fold together.
4. Use thinly sliced bacon to wrap each duck breast tight. Two slices of bacon may be required, depending on the size of the breasts. Stretch the bacon as you wrap the duck to hold the ingredients securely together.
5. Smoke, grill or bake the duck until the bacon is brown and crisp. A pellet grill on 220°F for about 45 minutes, or a barbecue on medium heat for the same time works well, turning the breasts once, or bake at 350°F for 25 minutes and broil for a minute to finish. The duck should be no more than medium-done. Serve with a spicy or savory dipping sauce or enjoy with a barbecue sauce. A sauce is optional, as the duck will have lots to offer on its own.
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