Marinated Duck Breast with Mango Salsa

Not everyone likes wild game. Perhaps the two biggest complaints that its detractors have is that it is hard to cook and doesn’t taste good. That couldn’t be further from the truth — if the meat has been handled properly after it has been harvested.

That said, people who take good care of their meat usually can cook it and feed it to those who’ve never had it before and not receive any complaints.

This time of the year, a lot of hunters are cleaning out their freezers of any game from 2011 in anticipation of upcoming seasons. I’m one of those people.

Just the other night, we had elk, pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and duck from the grill. All of the meat had been marinated overnight and was as tender as the choicest beef.

I’ve never had trouble coming up with my own recipes to cook wild game. But that doesn’t mean I don’t other people’s recipes, which brings me to “Afield: A Chef’s Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish” by Jesse Griffiths with photographs by Jody Horton.

I recently received a press release about the book described as follows:

“From the backwoods of Texas comes a wild game and fish cookbook, filled with recipes, stories and evocative and step-by-step photography; a one-of-a-kind guide to simple, rustic, instinctual cooking techniques, field dressing methods, sourcing directly and impeccably, foraging intelligently and respectfully, hunting and fishing sustainably and an only-take-what-you-need philosophy and lifestyle. Vegetables and fruit are just as important to these recipes as the meat and fish. . . .  Live simply. Cook simply.”

It goes on to say that Griffiths, an acclaimed chef, butcher, and hunting teacher, combines traditional methods of field dressing, butchering and preparing fish and game with 85 rustic mouthwatering recipes, suitable for the novice and experienced cook alike, some of which I hope to share with readers in the future.

Meanwhile, here is a recipe for Marinated Duck Breast with Mango Salsa that a fellow food blogger recently shared online.

Marinated Duck Breast with Mango Salsa
4 duck breasts
1½ tablespoons fresh lemon grass. chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons oil
Pepper to taste
1 small red onion
1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
1 large mango, chopped
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (some brands can be very sweet, you may want to combine chili sauce with sweet chili so it is not to sweet.)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
¾ teaspoon sugar
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, add duck and combine, marinade for several hours or overnight.
For the mango salsa combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well, cover and refrigerate an hour or two before serving.
Heat an unoiled pan. Prick duck skin all over, add duck skin side down to pan, cook until browned and crisp. (you will have to drain the fat several times while cooking as there is a lot of fat in the skin of a duck.) Spread about a teaspoon of marinade onto the meat of the breast then place on a wire rack skin side up. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked as desired.
Serve duck with mango salsa.