We raise Muscovy ducks, reknowned in France as Barbary ducks. They are bug-eating machines! They lay a “fair amount” of eggs and love to hatch eggs and raise young. They are wonderful mothers. They typically raise ten to sixteen ducklings per hatch, and share parenting duties.
In reviewing our economics it is not profitable for us to sell duck. We mostly just raise it for our own consumption now. However, when they are so prolific that we have extra, we do offer them in our farmstand. These photos are so adorable I wanted to keep this page up. Apologies for whetting your appetite.
The males are twice as big as the females, around 6 pounds dressed for the males vs 3 pounds dressed females. They are MUCH harder to defeather than chickens are. We can harvest and pack 4 broiler chickens in an hour, but it takes us at least an hour for each duck. Because of the labor involved, the certified organic, non-GMO feed they eat, and their gourmet status, they are $7/lb. We also sell boneless duck breasts and legs.
I am a simplistic cook, so put an inch or so of water in a pot and stand the duck up in it and steam it for a half hour to precook it. Then I just put something handy in the cavity (garlic, basil, onion, etc) and stick in the oven at 350. Key is to cook it only to medium rare or less. It helps to cut the wing tips off before cooking – they just get in the way afterward. They are much much less fatty than the Pekin ducks you usually get as duckling, but I save the fat for other cooking.
The easiest/fastest way to cook duck is to take the breasts off and saute them, then crisp the legs and slow-cook in a flavored liquid (tomatoes, etc). The breasts are wonderfully tender, and the legs can be tough (not always) and have some connective tissue that dissolves with the slow cooking. I frequently put the legs in a crock-pot with brown rice in the bottom, and cover with our tomato sauce or make a stew with winter veggies. The meat is fall-apart tender when it comes out.
Here are some relatively easy, good sounding recipes:
- From D’Artagnan
- How to pan fry Muscovy duck breasts
- Mostly really simple suggestions for cooking duck breast
- Duck with potatoes, creamed savoy cabbage, and red wine sauce
- Barbary Duck with Honey and Thyme – very easy, and one of my standards.
- Chargrilled duck with plum and chilli salsa
- Peppered duck breasts with wild mushrooms and cream
- Barbary duck with peaches
- Balsamic glazed duck breast with lentils
- Sugar tea smoked duck breasts
- From Grimaud Farms
- Braised Duck Legs for Idiots
- Roast Duck Legs with Caramelized Garlic
- Crispy Braised Duck Legs
- If you like sushi, try substituting duck breast for the fish.