Every shred of meat can be eaten on Fall-off-the-Bone Duck. The bones pick clean. Use the bits of meat for any of the soup or salad recipes that follow toward the end of this chapter. Thus, this recipe calls for 6 or 7 pounds of duck to be cooked. It will either serve 6 to 8 people for a dinner or you'll have scrumptious leftovers for another meal.
Place ducks in a stock pot and cover with water. Add 3 tablespoons salt, apples, and orange, and bring to a boil. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from water and place ducks in a pan.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine orange juice, honey, sherry, and Maggi. Baste duck with sauce and place in oven for 30 minutes, uncovered.
Liberally baste again and add water to pan to prevent duck from sticking. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or cover tightly with heavy-duty foil.
Lower heat to 275°F degrees. Roast for 2½ to 3 hours more, depending on size of ducks, basting every 30 minutes. Add water to bottom of pan if dry. Ducks are done when leg joint falls apart.
To make gravy, add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons flour to pan juices and cook until slightly thickened.
Vacuum-seal freezer machines and bags cost a little over $100 and are the best for maintaining game in the freezer. Less costly, but also effective, is to wrap each duck in a 12″ × 18″ piece of plastic-coated freezer paper. Label dates on packages with a felt tip pen. Place 1 or 2 wrapped ducks in a resealable plastic freezer bag with as little air as possible. They will keep, frozen, for almost a year. Hopefully you'll have cooked all of the year's game prior to the next hunt. If not, remove the previous year's game from the freezer and discard to make way for the new.
Serves 6 to 8
3 mallard ducks, or the equivalent of 6 to 7 pounds of duck
3 tablespoons salt, plus kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 apples, quartered
1 orange, quartered
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup dark honey
¼ cup sherry
1 tablespoon Maggi or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour