Duck meat has become very popular over the last few years. It’s tasty, nutritious, and relatively cheap. What makes it so special?
Duck meat is often considered to be healthier than chicken or beef because it contains less fat and cholesterol. In addition, ducks don’t produce much manure, unlike cows and chickens. This means they require less land and water. They also eat insects, which helps reduce the number of pesticides needed.
Duck meat is delicious and versatile. It can be grilled, roasted, fried, sautéed, steamed, boiled, baked, or even barbecued. It’s also great for soups, stews, casseroles, stir-fries, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and even pizza toppings.
We look at duck meat in closer detail, from health benefits to cooking, to taste in this article and work out why duck meat is just so good.
Why Is Duck Meat Just So Good?
Health Benefits Of Duck Meat
The first thing that you should know about duck meat is that it’s a lot healthier than most people think. For starters, it’s lower in fat and cholesterol than other meats such as beef and chicken. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) recommends eating no more than 30 grams of saturated fat per day.
That’s roughly one ounce of bacon or two slices of regular cheese. However, duck meat only contains 7 grams of saturated fat per 3 ounces. Beef on the other hand contains 11 grams. Chicken contains 12 grams.
The second reason that duck meat is healthy is that it doesn’t contain any trans fats. Trans fats are created when hydrogenated vegetable oils are used during processing. These oils have been chemically altered to make them solid at room temperature.
Although these oils may seem like a convenient way to help foods stay soft, they’re harmful to your body. They raise bad cholesterol levels, increase the risk of heart disease, and cause weight gain.
The third benefit of duck meat is that it contains high amounts of protein. A three-ounce serving of duck meat contains 20 grams of protein. By comparison, a three-ounce serving of beef contains 17 grams. Chicken contains 15 grams. And pork contains 14 grams.
A fourth health benefit of duck meat is the number of micronutrients it contains, these include iron, selenium, and vitamin C. It boasts some B vitamins too and is also high in niacin and vitamin B-12.
Niacin is important when converting carbohydrates to glucose and can help with metabolizing fats and proteins. B-12 is essential for nerve function, and the formulation of red blood cells.
Finally, duck meat is low in sodium. According to the FDA, an average person needs 2,400 milligrams of sodium each day. But, a portion of duck meat usually contains only around 1,200 milligrams. Beef contains 1,600 milligrams. And chicken contains 1,700 milligrams.
Duck meat tastes like chicken with a hint of gamey flavor. When compared to other types of poultry, duck meat has a slightly stronger flavor. You’ll find that the darker parts of the bird — especially the legs, thighs, and breasts — tend to have a richer, deeper flavor.
This rich and deep flavor is what makes it so popular and easy to cook with. Because of its strong flavor, duck meat is perfect for making sauces, marinades, and glazes.
If you’d rather not make a sauce or glaze, simply roast the duck meat until tender and then serve it plain. Served with some garlic potatoes, vegetables, and your favorite wine, you’re on to a gourmet meal in no time at all.
You can serve duck meat in a variety of ways. It works well in both sweet and savory recipes. For example, you can use duck meat in place of chicken in your next sweet and sour stir-fry recipe.
Or, if you prefer to keep things simple, you can grill, bake, broil, sauté, poach, or pan-fry duck meat and serve it with veg and potatoes.
It is also often used in Chinese dishes and duck pancake rolls have become quite popular in recent years. Many restaurants offer their version of this dish with hoisin sauce, cucumber, and scallions.
How To Cook Duck Breast
Cooking duck breasts isn’t difficult. For a simple method, you simply need to follow some basic guidelines. First, you’ll want to remove the skin before cooking. Second, you’ll want to cook the duck until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Third, you’ll want to let the duck rest for 10 minutes after cooking. Finally, you’ll want to serve the duck hot.
Removing The Skin Before Cooking
When buying fresh duck breasts, you’ll notice that there will be a thin layer of fat covering the surface. This is called the “bloom”. If you don’t remove this bloom, then the fat will drip off when you cook the duck.
You can easily remove the bloom by slicing down the center of the breast. Then, use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the flesh.
Is Duck Meat Expensive?
Although duck meat can be inexpensive, it’s still more expensive than chicken. However, because duck meat is leaner than most meats, it doesn’t require as much care during preparation.
As such, you can save money by purchasing whole ducks instead of individual pieces. Also, you may be able to get a discount if you purchase duck meat directly from the farmer.
Easy Duck Recipes
Another reason duck meat is so great is how easy it is to make a recipe suited for a dinner party. Although it might look and sound fancy, with these three simple recipes and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be on your way to impress your friends in no time.
Duck Breasts With Ginger And Scallion Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons minced ginger root
1 teaspoon sesame oil
6 boneless duck breasts (about 1 pound each)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Directions: In a large bowl combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, ginger, and sesame oil. Add the duck breasts and turn them over to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove the duck from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
In a wok heat the vegetable oil over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the duck breasts and sear for 2-3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Let the duck cook for 15 minutes.
Turn the duck breasts over and continue cooking uncovered for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how done you like your duck. Remove the duck from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Slice the duck breasts across the grain and arrange them on a platter. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce. Makes 6 servings.
Duck Breast With Hoisin Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup julienne red bell peppers
12 boneless duck breasts (1 pound each)
Directions: In a blender or food processor purée all ingredients except the duck breasts. Pour into a shallow dish. Place the duck breasts in the marinade and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, turning once.
Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Arrange the duck breasts in an even layer in a baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the breasts over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.
Simple Duck Leg Quiché Recipe
2 cups diced cooked duck leg meat
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half & half cream
1/4 cup bacon bits
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 pie crust shell
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Combine all ingredients except the pie crust in a mixing bowl. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of the pie crust. Top with the duck legs and Swiss cheese and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and the duck is cooked. Cool completely before cutting. Serves 8-10.
We hope after reading this article you have learned a little more about why duck meat has increased in popularity over recent years and why people not only love it for its taste, but also for the multiple health benefits it can provide.
Try one of our simple recipes to impress your friends at a dinner party or simply cook it plain to serve with your favorite potatoes and vegetables. We promise you won’t look back.