You need to roast a duck for this recipe, and there are lots of ways to do it. If you have a typical wild duck, you can quick roast it. If you have a domestic duck or a very fat wild one, you should slow-roast it. Here is how to fast roast a duck, and here's how to slow-roast a duck. Since I used a canvasback here, I will repeat the fast-roasting technique below. I served this with fresh candy cap mushrooms, which taste a little like maple syrup, but any fresh mushrooms will do, Or skip them and serve with a green vegetable of your choice. Since this has gravy, you really ought to have mashed or smashed potatoes here.
2wild ducks,such as mallards, pintail, canvasbacks, gadwall or redheads
Olive oil to coat ducks
Pan drippings from the duck,about 3 tablespoons
1/3cupbourbon or whisky
1/2cupduck stock,beef stock or water
1teaspoonTabasco sauce or other hot sauce
1to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
Take the ducks out of the fridge and coat them with olive oil. Salt them well inside and out. Let them come towards room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
When the oven is ready, put the ducks breast side up in a cast-iron frying pan or other heavy, oven-proof pan. Make sure they do not touch each other. Roast until the breast meat hits about 135°F to 140°F, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove the ducks from the oven and carve off the breasts. Set them skin side up on a cutting board. Return the ducks to the oven so you can cook the legs another 5 minutes.
Take the ducks out of the oven again. Move the ducks to the cutting board and put the pan on the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium-high and crisp up the skin on the breasts. This should take about 2 to 4 minutes. Watch out for the pan handle -- it will be very hot! Once the breast skin is crisp, move it to the cutting board skin side up.
You want 3 tablespoons of duck fat left in the pan. Spoon out extra or add some butter if you are short. Add the flour and mix well. Turn the heat to medium and cook the flour for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the bourbon. The roux will seize up, so be ready with the stock or water. Add it, stirring all the while, to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer. Pour in the maple syrup, Tabasco, and add salt and black pepper to taste. Simmer for for a minute or two. If the gravy has the right consistency, you are ready to add the cream. If it is too thick, add more stock. If it is too thin, let it boil down a bit. Once it is the consistency of Thanksgiving gravy, add the cream and cook 1 minute.
Carve the ducks and give everyone some breast meat and legs. Serve with mashed potatoes, pouring the gravy over everything.
Once made, the gravy will keep for a few days in the fridge, although it will set up solid when cold. It'll liquefy once you reheat it.