Back when I was in middle school, my dad started duck hunting regularly. Duck season (from sometime in December to sometime in January) became a regular part of our lives, with my dad and brother often waking up at 3:00 a.m. on cold winter mornings to go out hunting. And as a result, duck became a regular part of our winter table. We have this every Christmas and I’ve requested it for my birthday before. My parents have served it at parties and family get-togethers. And it is still one of my favorite things.
So when Gerrit decided that he needed to get his hunting license so that he could join these expeditions with my dad and brother, I had absolutely no complaints. And even though, because the winter was so busy, he only got to go hunting once with them, we still have a freezer of duck that I am so happy about (the benefits of them hunting with people who have already been hunting all season and already have freezers full of duck: they give you all of theirs).
This doesn’t seem like something I would like to be honest. And I have vague memories of apprehensive feelings the first time my dad made it. It involves onions and peppers, after all. And while I enjoy the flavor that bacon gives other foods, I’m not the biggest fan of bacon in and of itself. But when all of this is wrapped around a perfect little medallion of duck meat and cooked on a grill, it makes the duck meat, the part I care about, absolutely delectable.
You can cut into this all at once, and get duck and onion and pepper and bacon all in one bite. Or you can eat it like I do, which is to unwrap the whole thing, savor the duck meat in the middle (with maybe a tidbit of bacon, for the saltiness) and then push the onion and pepper and bacon over to the side of your plate for someone else to eat. Either way is fine, and either way will make you sure that you cannot live without duck on at least a seasonal basis.
(And for the record, I do not hunt. I went once with my dad when I was in high school, on a youth hunting day. I shot the gun once at a corn stalk and then promptly handed it back to him, feeling that I had had my gun fill for life. And since only I was allowed to shoot duck on that day, we spent the rest of the afternoon wading through the water with the dog and watching ducks fly in, which was lovely.)
Bacon Wrapped Duck
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Wait Time: 8 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
6 to 8 small duck breasts*
1 cup Dale’s Seasoning (or other similar steak marinade)
1/4 cup water
3 green bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
1 to 2 onions, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch flat pieces
18 to 24 pieces of bacon
1. In a bowl or large plastic zip top bag, place the duck breasts (whole). Pour the Dale’s and water over the duck and let marinate in the fridge or 6 to 8 hours.
2. Remove duck from the marinade and cut each breast piece into 3 or 4 medallions (each about 2 inches). You might have to trim away some of the tougher pieces of the meat (especially if you are using wild duck).
3. Sandwich each piece of duck meat between one piece of onion and one piece of pepper. Then wrap it in bacon, trying to cover each side and both ends. Insert a toothpick through the middle to keep the bacon in place.
4. Place on a grill over medium-high heat, and cook until the bacon is done, about 20 minutes, turning it often so that each side cooks evenly. Remove from the grill and serve immediately (and make sure that your guests know to watch for toothpicks).
*This is how many duck breasts I needed using wild duck. If you buy duck at the store, I believe your breast pieces are going to be much bigger and you should not need as many.