Cookbook gives tips, techniques for cooking duck, geese

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 19 2013 5:25 p.m. MST

DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Ducks and Geese, both Wild and Domesticated,” by Hank Shaw, Ten Speed Press, $24.99, 234 pages

While turkey may be taking center stage at a major holiday next week, Hank Shaw points out that there are other fowl that may make an equally delicious main course in his cookbook “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

The first 20 pages are a simple yet detailed overview of different ducks and geese, how to break one down, whether bought at a store or market or brought in by a hunter (including plucking), and what to watch out for in each type of meat.

“Duck, Duck, Goose” is wisely organized by cooking the whole bird, including roasting and grilling recipes, a second section called “Pieces” with more than 40 recipes and then a section called “Extras” that has recipes involving duck eggs, duck liver or tongues and a recipe for Duck Jerky.

Shaw has made this cookbook for both beginners and advanced chefs, and those in between, as each recipe includes a starred difficulty level with one star being the easiest and can be done in a weeknight, to five stars, which may require significant time, attention or special equipment. He also includes cooking time and preparation time estimates.

There are recipes with flavors and names from Europe, Central America and Asia, along with flavors from throughout the U.S. Using a conversational writing style, he includes some background with each recipe, where it originated and his version of it.

Throughout the cookbook, there are color photos of the end results of many of the recipes and green boxes with tips and additional cooking information, whether on carving a roasted duck or goose, how many servings each may be and a recipe from 1799 from Martha Washington.

For those interested in cooking ducks or geese or who have a loved one who is a waterfowl hunter, this is a resource that would be informational and helpful for beginners or more advanced cooks.

If you go …

What: Hank Shaw book signing

When: Thursday, Nov. 21

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, honest-food.net

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Duck Breast with Black Currant Sauce

Difficulty: **

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

A venerable dish in both France and England, this preparation is almost as old as duck bigarade. Like that recipe and various others in this book, it is proof of the fundamental alliance between waterfowl and fruit. Black currants are a little musky, very tart and not overly sweet. Cassis, if you’ve never heard of it, is black currant liqueur. You need at least one of these to do this recipe justice. I not only use black currant preserves and cassis, but also I will on occasion toss in a handful of fresh black currants at the end of the cooking just for good measure.

However, black currants can be difficult to find in any form, so you can hinge the dish on blackberries instead, using blackberry schnapps and blackberry preserves.

My rendition of this recipe is decidedly English, with a simple watercress salad and potato crisps. The watercress salad is super simple: buy some watercress and dress it however you like; I recommend the Duck Fat Vinaigrette (recipe follows).

1½ to 2 pounds duck breasts

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