I come from a family of hunters. My whole life it was common in the fall and winter for my father to be gone early in the morning. Out in the woods or in a field or on the river hunting something. Or fishing. I come from a family of fishermen. I grew up dragging deer out of the woods and helping my brother butcher animals. We ate venison and squirrel and duck and goose and wild turkey. Whatever my father brought home. He shot a moose in the Yukon and we ate off of it for half the year. When I said I wanted to join them in my early twenties, my brother bought me a bow for my birthday. I had to field dress all the deer we got that year to practice. And we practiced shooting constantly. We went to the shooting range together to sight in our muzzle loader. I was going to be taught to hunt the right way. And I was going to learn to butcher a deer by myself. My survival skills are pretty good. Plus I like venison.
It is a family tradition to go hunting on Thanksgiving. Normally my brother posts up in the woods (or in a tree stand) and Dad, my nephew Gavin, my nephew Trenton, and I drive deer. And if Cliff shoots something, we work together to track and drag the deer together. This year my new husband got to join the crew. A week after our hunt, I got a call from my father, that my boss of nephew Trenton, had decided he wanted a hunt of his own. Cliff can have Thanksgiving, but Christmas would be his. For Christmas he made us all necklace of leather and old antlers to wear. And on December 26th we headed out in the woods together. My dad settled in with Trenton, ready to guide him if a deer came his way. I would love for their to be a fairy-tale ending, but the truth is that we walked away empty-handed. The does were all running to fast and the only deer that was close enough for him was a nice 8-10 point buck. This particular week, however, you are allowed to only shoot does. The main thing, though, is that we had fun. We had a little shooting contest afterwards and the whole morning was just pleasant.
Even though we didn’t get a deer, my father had been up early that day to shoot ducks. So before we even went out, my husband (Zach) got to butcher a duck so we could take the breasts home. Not only this, but my charming, personality-filled nephew Trenton was his instructor. It was a little bit funny, mostly because Trenton tried to lead him astray and get him in trouble. Mostly by telling him he didn’t need to clean up feathers. Upon which, Zach informed Trenton he did not have a father-in-law. He didn’t understand that life.
We saved the duck for our Michigan visit because our friend Steve-o is a big foodie and we thought he could appreciate it. Zach cooked the duck perfectly. We made a side hash of sweet potatoes and parsnips with some bacon. Plus we had some smoked turkey that we got for Christmas from my grandparents. The meal was amazing. And I think you can see a theme, because this is my second post of the year and they both have sweet potatoes.
Duck Breast with a Root Hash
- Duck Breast
- salt to taste
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 1 parsnip
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 slices of bacon
Let’s Make it Happen: Dice bacon and fry. Set aside on a paper-towel covered plate. Drain a little, but not all of the bacon fat.
Place the duck breast in the skillet. Season with salt. Sear the breast, then place in the oven @ 350 to finish.
Mince the garlic. Dice the onion. Saute in the skillet. Peel the sweet potatoes and parsnips. Chop into cubes. Add to the skillet. Keep tossing the hash until it is cooked all the way through and tender. Sprinkle in the bacon. Toss again.
Remove the duck. Let it set. Cut into strips.
Plate and eat!!