I’d been wanting to make a sausage flavored with all the elements of the classic dish Duck L’Orange for a while, and then I found myself in possession of 13 diver ducks: Goldeneyes, scaup, that sort of thing. These are fishy, fishy ducks, as they eat lots of clams and crustaceans and other fishy things. Ew. Fortunately you can still eat these ducks if you strip off all the fat and skin.
Even with this treatment you will want strong flavors to go with the meat, just in case you missed some fat along the way. Orange juice, zest and orange liqueur do a nice job of this, as do cloves, garlic and just a little cayenne.
The result is a luxury link from a garbage duck. Roast or grill these sausages slowly and serve them with mashed potatoes, or toss them into cassoulet or some other hearty stew.
Can you use other wild ducks, or domestic ducks or geese? You bet.
Makes about 15-20 links
- 3 pounds duck meat
- 2 pounds fatty pork shoulder
- 38 grams kosher salt
- 20 grams brown sugar
- 2 grams ground cloves
- 2 grams cayenne
- 12 grams ground black pepper
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- Zest of an orange
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Cut the pork and duck into chunks of about 1-inch. In a small bowl, combine the cloves, black pepper and cayenne and sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the meat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- If you are making sausage links, take out your hog casings and soak them in warm water. You will need 10-15 feet of casing.
- Chill the bowl of a stand mixer and the meat grinder’s parts in the freezer. Set up the grinder with the coarse grinding plate; place the bowl below. Take the meat out of the fridge and mix in the salt and sugar. Turn your stand mixer onto medium speed (No. 4 on my Kitchenaid), and grind the meat.
- Put the ground meat in the freezer to keep it at 32 to 40 degrees. Clean up the grinder. Now take the meat out and add the orange zest, garlic, Grand Marnier and orange juice. Using clean hands or the paddle of the stand mixer, mix the meat until a sticky mass forms, about 90 seconds; be careful not to let the meat get too warm. Refrigerate for up to 3 hours. If you are not making links, you’re done.
- If you are making links, it’s time to flush your hog casings. Working over the sink, gently run warm water through each casing. Look for any spots that leak and cut out those portions.
- Set up the sausage stuffer and slip all but 6 inches of a casing onto the tube, leaving the trailing end untied. Tightly pack the sausage mixture into the canister. Start cranking the sausage stuffer very slowly until the meat emerges from the tube. Slowly crank the sausage into the casing, using your free hand to regulate how tightly the sausage is packed; make sure not to overstuff the casing. When the casing is nearly stuffed, tie off the end.
- Starting at one end, pinch off the first link by pinching your fingers around the sausage to separate the filling; 6 inches is a good average length. Then, roll the link toward you 3 to 5 times, creating a twist in the casing. Move down to form the next link, rolling 3 to 5 times in the opposite direction (this helps prevent unraveling). If the casing splits, remove the stuffing near the split and tie the casing closed before proceeding. Alternately, the links can be formed by sectioning them off with butcher’s twine. Repeat with the remaining casings and sausage.
- Hang the sausages on wooden or metal racks over paper towels to set up and dry. Sterilize a needle over a flame. Prick holes wherever you see air pockets in the links. Let the sausages hang to dry for 1 to 2 hours and refrigerate overnight before cooking.