After an epic sea duck hunt on the Chesapeake Bay this winter, I ended up with a surplus of meat to work through. Conventional wisdom has not been kind to the modest sea duck, and I found exceedingly little literature on how to make them table-worthy. After spending some time in the kitchen, I can confidently say that the naysayers are sadly mistaken and missing out on some truly good eats. While a rare, pan seared breast is a great treat in and of itself, I wanted to make something that was tasty and accessible. Beef Bourguignon, or beef Burgundy, is a French classic, and the venison-like breast meat of the sea ducks complimented the Bourguignon nicely. This hearty wine-based stew is the perfect meal for when the mercury drops, and the same recipe works well for a variety of dark game meats.
6-8 sea duck breasts, cubed
3-4 strips of bacon, cubed
1-2 carrots, rough cut
1 onion, diced
2-4 small potatoes, quartered or cubed
A handful of button mushrooms
2-3 tbsp tomato paste
1 whole bottle of dry red wine
1½ cups of game stock
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 sprig each of thyme, rosemary, sage
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
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How to Make Sea Duck Bourguignon
Cut all ingredients as specified.
Cook the bacon in a stock pot or dutch oven until crispy, and then reserve it for later.
Brown the cubed breasts in the bacon fat.
Add the tomato paste to the pan and brown it.
Add all of your veggies and aromatics.
Pour in the wine and stock.
Slow simmer for about 4 hours until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened.
Season to taste and serve with fresh herbs and some nice crusty bread.