Hunting Season

Nov 3, 2011

It’s not hard these days to be up before the crack of dawn.  For an early bird like me, this means at least 2 hours of darkness where I’m confined to chores inside…writing, cooking, and thinking about the hours to come.

Sunrise this morning is at 7:13 AM…just 2 minutes less than the latest time that occurs this Saturday, the day we change over  the clocks on daylight savings time.

The tide chart tells me that high is at 4:44 AM.  So at quarter to seven, when the first grey light of morning  starts to color the clouds  in the sky, the tide will be picking up and running out the cove.  A great time to check for ducks that have camped here for the night on the way to their winter home…or we might catch a flock of Eiders visiting to feed…

It’s hunting season for deer, so Tait and I ‘suit” up in our November uniform of  bright, florescent orange.  He’s jumpy…anxious to check out all his usual trees, and eager for a swim in the pond.  I’m happy to be in the woods, listening to the first call of crows scouting for breakfast, the sharp, cry of the gulls, and the cheerful cheep of the chickadees.  Perhaps we’ll spot the eagle soaring over the field at Barbour Farm or the osprey diving for fish  off Rabbit Island.

By the time we return to the hill from our early morning hunt, the sun will be above the tree-line, greeting us with another glorious day.  And if by chance , Tait and I are successful in our hunt, we’ll be eating well for supper!


(Duck Breast with Maine  wild blueberries)

Duck breasts are an easy and delicious alternative to roasting a whole duck.  In this recipe they are marinated, then roasted.  I have also prepared them by grilling.

1 cup Wild Blueberry Grill Sauce

6 duck breasts, skin on

Pour the marinade over the duck breasts.  Cover tightly and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

½ cup chopped onion

½ cup chopped celery

½ cup chopped carrots

5 – 6 sprigs fresh thyme

Sea salt and fresh pepper

¼  to ½  cup blueberry jam

2 cups chicken stock

1 ½ cups frozen Maine wild blueberries

To prepare: Remove the duck breasts from the marinade and pat dry.  Score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern with a sharp knife and sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.  Heat a large heavy skillet on top of the stove and cook the duck breasts, skin side down for 5 to 8 minutes.  Turn the duck over and cook for another two minutes.  Transfer the duck breasts to a roasting pan.

Deglaze the skillet with chicken stock, degrease the stock, return it to the skillet and add the aromatics (veggies & herbs) and marinade.  Cook and reduce.

Meanwhile, roast the duck breasts in a preheated 450 degree oven until medium-rare.  Continue to reduce the sauce, adding 1/2 of the frozen blueberries.  Degrease any cooking juices from the roasted duck and add to the sauce.  When the sauce has been reduced by one half, strain out the aromatics and the blueberries.  Add the remaining blueberries and season to taste with the jam and fresh pepper and salt.

Slice the duck into pieces and arrange on a preheated serving platter.  Spoon the sauce over the duck slices.  Garnish the platter with sprigs of fresh thyme. Serves 8.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 405 calories, 43 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 19 grams fat, (0 grams trans fat), 298 mg. sodium, 1.5 grams fiber.

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