On Cooking Ducks and Geese

As I peruse social media hunting groups and online threads, I continually see a constant stream of confusion, misrepresentation, and disinformation about cooking wild ducks and geese. Every thread or comment section looks a little like this:

geese are gamey; ducks are greasy; just throw it all in a crockpot; they’re too tough; tastes like liver; aren’t worth eating; carp of the sky; best roasted whole; turn it all into jerky; just leave ‘em in the field; pukey face emoji; cover them with salt and pepper, cook on high, put on a plate, garnish with parsley, dump it into the garbage, and eat the plate.

Most of these comments are patently false or misleading, and I’d die a happy man if I never heard that lame, unoriginal joke at the end there ever again.

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Summery Noodle Salad with Canada Goose

Goose often gets relegated to autumnal meals, full of heavy sauces and rich flavours, but it can also shine in a light, summery meal like this one. This is also a great way to help clear your freezer of last year’s goose in preparation of this year’s hunting season. Use whatever vegetables you have that are at their peak of ripeness; this time of year it is tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and basil. You can find packages of dried ramen noodles at any Asian grocer or many large grocery chains, but if you can’t seem to find them, just use the packages of instant ramen soup available everywhere. Simply set aside or discard the seasoning packet (try it on popcorn!) and use the noodles for the salad. This meal is best enjoyed eaten outside in the sun!

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Nashville Hot Pike Sandwiches

This was honestly the best fish sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Using a slightly modified take on the now-classic Nashville Hot Chicken recipe, I subbed in pike fillets (tasty and tender, yet firm), and put it all on a bun. I used sorrel instead of lettuce because I like the way the tartness cuts through the richness of the fried fish and sauce, much like the lemon or vinegar you get with fish and chips, but you can use regular iceberg or romaine lettuce instead. This isn’t a healthy recipe by any means, so make it a treat and go all in for the heavy oily goodness of the hot sauce that the fried pike gets smothered in!

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Venison Turkish Manti

Manti are meat-filled dumplings found in Turkey and throughout central Asia. The Turkish variety are usually made very small, in fact, newly-wed brides are judged by their mother-in-laws by how expertly small they can make their manti. Fitting 40 manti onto one spoon will ensure a blessing from the mother-in-law!
Traditionally manti are stuffed with a lamb filling, but I used ground venison, which tastes excellent in this preparation. The boiled dumplings get smothered in two delicious sauces, one yogurt-based, and one butter-based, and are so delicious, you won’t be able to stop eating them. This recipe will make 40-60 manti, though only one or two will fit on a spoon at a time!

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Crispy Venison Chow Mein

This recipe combines separate classic techniques to make an ultra-crispy delicious meal, reminiscent of your favorite Chinese take-out dishes, but even better. Venison strips get fried until crispy, then dressed in one of my favorite condiments – Lao Gan Ma Chili Crisp. This sauce is basically a not-too-spicy chili oil full of delectable crispy bits. It is insanely tasty and addictive and is magical when paired with venison. Find it in any Asian grocery store, or order it online. The crispy venison then gets piled onto fried chow mein noodles nests, doubling the crisp factor and making it a fun meal for the whole family.

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Senegalese Goose Leg Ndambe

Ndambe (pronounced NAM-bey) is a type of bean stew found in the country of Senegal, in west Africa. The spicy stew, most often made with black-eyed peas, gets spread onto baguettes along with mayo and hot sauce and is served as street food in Dakar and other Senegalese city-centers. The sandwich goes by the same name as the stew and makes for a filling and delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner, though it’s most often eaten for breakfast.

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Cajun Garlic-Butter Canada Goose Bites with Maque Choux

This is a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that will put dinner on the table in about 30 minutes. The spicy garlic butter pan sauce laced with Cajun spices works magically with cubed goose breast. I chose the Cajun staple maque choux for the side, since it’s delicious, easy to prepare, and provides the perfect amount of sweetness to counterbalance the spicy richness of the goose. I also served blanched sugar snap peas with a spritz of lemon juice on the side for some crunch. Be sure you don’t overcook the goose breast, once it’s past medium done, it develops a grainy texture and undesirable flavors.

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Egyptian Duck Liver Sandwiches (Kebda Eskandarani)

Traditionally made with water buffalo liver, this sandwich is Egyptian street food at its finest. Although it can be found in most Egyptian cities, it originally hails from the port city of Alexandria, which it’s named after. The chopped liver gets marinated in a spicy sauce, then sautéed with chilies, peppers, and onions. It then gets stuffed into a long roll and drizzled with a special Egyptian-style tahini sauce. This delicious sandwich will change the mind of anyone still on the fence about enjoying liver!

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