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Celebrate a Fire-Quacker Fourth

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By Dan Clarke

When we write about products, we probably help sell them, but we don’t like to think of ourselves as shills.

Therefore, this introduction. A pitch arrived in today’s e-mail that included a suggestion for Father’s Day and/or Fourth of July barbecues. The sender, Maple Leaf Farms, is a Midwestern company that raises and sells Pekin ducks. They’re a very big outfit and have good national distribution. We’ve bought their products here on the West Coast.

Commercially-raised Pekin ducks are not the wild and gamey mallards my college roommates brought home to our table (I loved those birds, too), but they have more flavor--and a different flavor—from the modern day store-bought chicken.

Maple Leaf’s message suggested that if you're burned out on the usual beef, pork or chicken, duck is a versatile alternative to other meats -- and it's just as easy to prepare. On your editor’s first trip to France he was introduced to Confit de Canard. This is a whole duck leg, cooked slowly in its own duck fat. Delicious. Magret de Canard, an alternative treatment, involves searing a duck breast, then serving it rare, sliced and fanned out on a plate. Also delicious.

The recipe for grilled duck brats showcases a new product in the Maple Leaf line, which currently is only available via internet purchase. This recipe (see below) appealed to us. Unfortunately the duck brats aren’t going to be in stores this year, but are included as part of Maple Leaf’s Fire- Quacker Duck Grilling Kit.  If the duck brats idea doesn’t suit your Independence Day plans, you still might want to consider other recipes that will move beyond the beef-pork-chicken tedium. For more information about the Fire-Quacker Kit visit shopmapleleaffarms.com or for more about cooking with duck in general, visit mapleleaffarms.com.

 

Tucker Family Duck Brats with Onion Jam

Servings: 4 to 6

Ingredients:

2             tablespoons unsalted butter

2             medium sweet onions, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rings

2             tablespoons brown sugar

1             teaspoon kosher salt

               black pepper, to taste

1             tablespoon Dijon mustard

4–6        Maple Leaf Farms Duck Brats, thawed

2             cups beef stock or beer

2             tablespoons apple cider vinegar

4–6        hoagie rolls, toasted

In large pan, heat butter until foaming. On low heat add the onions, brown sugar, salt and pepper; stir and let onions caramelize for about 20 minutes. Add Dijon mustard and stir. Add duck brats to the pan and pour beef stock or beer over brats. Add apple cider vinegar and cook to medium heat; braise for 10 minutes. (Duck brats are already fully cooked).

Remove brats and let onion mixture simmer on medium while you finish the brats on a medium-high heat grill about 4–5 minutes on each side.

Serve brats in hoagie roll with onion jam on top.

Beverage pairing: TASTE suggests beer--maybe something along the lines of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or Mac & Jack’s African Amber.

 

About Maple Leaf Farms:

Maple Leaf Farms, Inc. is America's leading producer of quality duck products, supplying retail and foodservice markets throughout the world with innovative, value-added foods. Founded in 1958, Maple Leaf Farms is a fourth generation, family-owned company. For more information visit www.mapleleaffarms.com.

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