Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lean ducks in Valhalla's kitchen

We roasted one of Valhalla's duck drakes tonight (he was a rapist who did a lot of damage to several of the duck hens so he had to go, no regrets here) while also very closely following a Cook's Illustrated recipe from America's Test Kitchen. That was a very instructive experience when we ended up with something close to duck jerky! 

Cook's Magazine reported that over 50% of the ducks that they worked with from specialty stores was very precious fat (delicious for frying potatoes and many other things, BTW). That said, we knew something was "wrong" here after scoring the duck skin to let all the fat render out, yet after an hour we had barely a teaspoon of rendered fat at the bottom of our roasting pan. 

Valhalla's ducks are *very* active running, swimming, and exploring the forests all day every day here, and we proved tonight that they have almost no fat on them at all... they're happy, healthy, get fed every night on top of all the bugs and plants that they eat while free-ranging during the day, and have wonderful lives, so now I'm looking sideways at what commercial producers must be doing to produce such incredibly fat ducks. 

Next time we'll stick with wild duck recipes that sometimes call for wrapping a duck in bacon due to the lack of fat. And, I don't think anything was really wrong the meat from with our lean (and in fact mean) duck drake after all, he just didn't have a boring couch-potato existence that would have caused him to be fat enough for a recipe geared towards cooking the average fatty duck that is only occasionally available in gourmet supermarkets.

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The Valhalla Project needs your help and support
Just getting a project like Valhalla up and running has required a significant investment in time, money, and labor. With roughly $500,000 already invested over the last two years into the Valhalla Project for property acquisition, feeding and housing Soldier participants, infrastructure and facility improvements, animal purchases and feed, tools and building supplies, forest and pasture management expenses, and much much more, resources are running thin. We need YOUR help to keep Valhalla functioning efficiently - while at the same time expanding vitally important programs to assist post-9/11 combat Soldiers and war zone civilian workers to transition back into the civilian world. 

The Valhalla Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity recognized by the IRS.
Nobody, including cadre or board members, draws a paycheck here, nor will they ever: we simply give everything we have to make Valhalla possible. 100% of your donation via Paypal will go directly to program expenses, period. If you'd prefer to instead directly donate four new tractor tire, a truckload of straw bales, a pallet of dimension lumber, or even a few dozen 10' sheets of forest green tin roofing, that would be absolutely wonderful - yet perhaps polking the "Donate" button above to contribute $10, $20, 
$50 or even more might be a little easier and more practical!

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