by Scott Leysath
If your favorite jeans are feeling a little snug in January, it might be time to forego bacon for broccoli until spring gobbler season rolls around. About this time every year, I decide that I've paid a price for pumpkin pie, gravy-soaked meats, and holiday cheer. Oh sure, it was fun while it lasted, but walking from the four-wheeler to the blind doesn't really do much to work off a 5,000-calorie Thanksgiving feeding frenzy. Texas A&M International University estimates that Americans will consume more than 600 extra calories a day from Thanksgiving to New Years. If that's accurate, it'll take you only 66 hours of walking back and forth to the blind to work off the extra weight.
Fortunately, you don't have to go hungry in order to shed a few pounds, but it does help to load up on fresh seasonal vegetables and cut back on fats and starches. Combine a mound of veggies with lean game meats like duck or venison and you have the makings for a delicious and nutritious stir-fry. This recipe includes a handful of fresh vegetables that are typically available year around, but any vegetables may be substituted to suit personal tastes.
While it takes a little extra time to chop and dice all the ingredients in advance, the actual cooking time is less than 10 minutes.
Duck and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: less than 10 minutes
4-6 skinless duck breast fillets
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
3 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
¾ cup beef broth
½ teaspoon hoisin sauce (optional)
1 cup bell pepper, any color, sliced into thin strips
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
warm steamed rice or cooked noodles
1. Slice the duck breast fillet across the grain as thinly as possible. Placing the fillets in the freezer for an hour will make them easier to slice. In a medium bowl, toss the sliced duck with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and cornstarch. Refrigerate for an hour.
2. Make sure that all remaining ingredients are prepared according to the recipe and are ready to cook. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the green onions, garlic, and ginger root, and stir-fry for one minute. Add the duck and stir-fry for two minutes or until lightly browned. Move the duck to the outside area of the wok or skillet (away from direct heat) and then add the mushrooms and broccoli. Stir-fry for another two minutes. Then add the beef broth, hoisin sauce, and bell pepper, and bring to a boil. Stir-fry all ingredients in the wok or skillet to thicken the sauce. Add snow peas and cook for one minute more.
3. Mound cooked rice or noodles on plates and spoon the duck mixture and sauce over.
Duck Fried Rice
If you have leftover cooked duck, rice, carrots, and onion, you can fire up the skillet and create a waterfowler's variation of a classic Asian dish—pork fried rice. Dice the cooked duck into ¼-inch pieces, and then add to a hot skillet with a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil. Add diced carrot, onion, cooked rice, soy sauce, garlic powder, and a pinch of ground ginger. If desired, you can add a beaten egg while stir-frying. Serve as a side dish.