Baked Duck Breasts in Orange Glaze

One of my all-time favorite outdoor stories is Robert Ruark’s account, from The Old Man and the Boy, of the occasion when he and his grandfather hunted ducks and fished with some Cajun friends of the Old Man down in Louisiana. Every time I read the piece, and I’ve read it at least a dozen times, my salivary glands kick into involuntary overdrive. Ruark was that good at describing food, and of course the geographical setting meant feasting on fish, shellfish, and waterfowl.

If that’s one of my favorite stories, it’s nicely balanced by this offering being one of my favorite recipes.

You’ll need:

  • 2 duck breasts, filleted into four pieces
  • 1 ½ sticks butter (no substitutes)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives (or three tablespoons dried ones)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Slight dash of cinnamon


Fillet the breasts from two ducks and wash thoroughly. Line a baking dish or pan with aluminum foil and leave enough foil to seal after the ingredients are added. Cut butter into chunks and distribute evening over duck breasts. Place a bay leaf on each fillet. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on top of the duck breasts. Close foil securely and bake for an hour and 15 minutes or until tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.


Orange Sauce

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, sugar, and nutmeg. Bring to a rolling boil, add cornstarch, and stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and drizzle over duck breasts or serve separately in a gravy boat.



Pickled Shrimp and Capers

Shrimp are wonderfully versatile in that they can be a main dish, a cocktail, or merely hearty hors d’oeuvres for a party. Here’s a somewhat unusual approach that works well when you are having a large group for drinks and snacks. It will also stave off hunger pangs in a hunt camp until the main meal is ready.

You’ll need:

  • 5 pounds (36- to 40-count) unpeeled shrimp
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 red onions, sliced thin
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (3-ounce) jar capers


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the shrimp and cook for two and a half minutes. Drain the shrimp and soak in an ice water bath to cool. Peel the shrimp. Combine the garlic, onions olive oil, vinegar, wine, salt sugar, cayenne pepper, and capers in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and stir to combine.

Refrigerate, covered, for at least 24 hours; twice that time will make for a better marriage of flavors. Stir the shrimp every few hours.


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