Pick, draw, clean thoroughly, and wipe dry. Cut the neck close to the back, beat the breast-bone flat with a rolling pin, tie the wings and legs securely, and stuff with the following: -
Three pints bread crumbs, six ounces butter, or part butter and salt pork, two chopped onions and one teaspoonful each of sage, black pepper and salt. Do not stuff very full, and sew up the openings firmly to keep the flavor in and the fat out. If not fat enough, it should be larded with salt pork, or tie a slice upon the breast. Place in a baking pan, with a little water, and baste frequently with salt and water - some add onion, and some vinegar; turn often, so that the sides and back may all be nicely browned. When nearly done, baste with butter and a little flour. These directions will apply to tame geese as well as ducks. Young ducks should roast from twenty-five to thirty minutes, and full-grown ones for an hour or more, with frequent basting. Some prefer them underdone and served very hot; but, as a rule, thorough cooking will prove more palatable. Make a gravy out of the necks and gizzards by putting them in a quart of cold water, that must be reduced to a pint by boiling. The giblets, when done, may be chopped fine and added to the juice. The preferred seasonings are one tablespoonful of Madeira or sherry, a blade of mace, one small onion, and a little cayenne pepper; strain through a hair sieve; pour a little over the ducks and serve the remainder in a boat. Served with jellies or any tart sauce.
Prepare a pair of fine young ducks, the same as for roasting, place them in a stewpan together with two or three slices of bacon, a carrot, an onion stuck with two cloves, and a little thyme and parsley. Season with pepper, and cover the whole with a broth, adding to the broth a gill of white wine. Place the pan over a gentle fire and allow the ducks to simmer until done, basting them frequently. When done remove them from the pan, and place them where they will keep hot. A turnip should then be cut up and fried in some butter. When nicely browned, drain the pieces and cook them until tender in the liquor in which the ducks were braised. Now strain and thicken the gravy, and after dishing up the ducks, pour it over them, garnishing with the pieces of turnip. Palmer House, Chicago.
Prepare them by cutting them them up the same as chicken for fricassee. Lay two or three very thin slices of salt pork upon the bottom of a stew-pan; lay the pieces of duck upon the pork. Let them stew slowly for an hour, closely covered. Then season with salt and pepper, half a teaspoonful of powdered sage, or some green sage minced fine; one chopped onion. Stew another half hour until the duck is tender. Stir up a large tablespoonful of brown flour in a little water and add it to the stew. Let it boil up, and serve all together in one dish, accompanied with green peas.
Palmer House, Chicago.
Cut all the meat from cold roast ducks; put the bones and stuffing into cold water; cover them and let boil; put the meat into a deep dish; pour on enough of the stock made from the bones to moisten; cover with pastry slit in the centre with a knife, and bake a light brown.
A nice dish for breakfast, and very relishing, can be made from the remains of a roast of duck. Cut the meat from the bones, pick out all the little tidbits in the recesses, lay them in a frying pan, and cover with water and the cold gravy left from the roast; add a piece of butter; let all boil up once and if not quite thick enough, stir in a little dissolved flour. Serve hot.
Wild duck should not be dressed too soon after being killed. If the weather is cold it will be better for being kept several days. Bake in a hot oven, letting it remain for five or ten minutes without basting to keep in the gravy, then baste frequently with butter and water. If over-done it loses flavor, thirty to forty minutes in the right kind of an oven being sufficient. Serve on a very hot dish, and send to table as hot as possible with a cut lemon and the following sauce: -
Put in a tiny saucepan a tablespoonful each of Worcestershire sauce and mushroom catsup, a little salt and cayenne pepper and the juice of half a lemon. Mix well, make it hot, remove from the fire and stir in a teaspoonful of made mustard. Pour into a hot gravy boat.
California Style, Lick House.
Most wild ducks are apt to have the flavor of fish, and when in the hands of inexperienced cooks are sometimes unpalatable on this account. Before roasting them, parboil them with a small peeled carrot put within each duck. This absorbs the unpleasant taste. An onion will have the same effect, but unless you use onions in the stuffing the carrot is preferable. Roast the same as tame duck. Or put into the duck a whole onion peeled, plenty of salt and pepper and a glass of claret, bake in a hot oven twenty minutes. Serve hot With the gravy it yields in cooking and a dish of currant jelly.
The epicurean taste declares that this special kind of bird requires no spices or flavors to make it perfect, as the meat partakes of the flavor of the food that the bird feeds upon, being mostly wild celery; and the delicious flavor is best preserved when roasted quickly with a hot fire. After dressing the duck in the usual way by plucking, singeing, drawing, wipe it with a wet towel, truss the head under the wing; place it in a dripping-pan, put it in the oven, basting often, and roast it half an hour. It is generally preferred a little underdone. Place it when done on a hot dish, season well with salt and pepper, pour over it the gravy it has yielded in baking and serve it immediately while hot.