Duck Bulgogi

This Korean-inspired recipe complements the natural flavor of ducks and geese

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have access to areas where puddle ducks are plentiful should be thankful. Mallards, pintails, teal, black ducks, and the like have a milder flavor and can be seasoned and cooked without much fuss. Diving ducks, sea ducks, and snow geese are typically gamier, but they can still make great table fare. They just need a little help. Any ducks or geese with an off-putting flavor can benefit from a soak in a good marinade. Bottled sauces like Italian dressing or teriyaki will work if you are short on time. Some are better than others, though, and they often are too salty or sweet. The sweet marinades tend to burn on the grill, leaving the meat a little bitter tasting.

This recipe for Korean bulgogi is one of my favorite ways to marinate and cook duck or goose breasts. The thinly sliced, marinated meat is stir-fried quickly in a wok or skillet, and the flavor can be adjusted to be more or less sweet, salty, or spicy, depending on personal preferences. The longer the meat stays in the marinade, the more it will taste like marinade and less like duck or goose, which can be useful if the meat is especially gamey. The ingredients are easy to find in any grocery store, and the marinade takes just a few minutes to prepare.

DUCK BULGOGI

The marinade in this recipe works well with any duck or goose breast fillet, but it is especially good for taming the gamey taste of divers, sea ducks, and some snow geese. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds duck or goose breast fillets 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced bell pepper, any color
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • Warm, steamed rice

MARINADE

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh or pickled ginger 
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds 
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (Asian type)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

[Step 1] Lightly pound duck or goose breast fillets with a mallet until they are of even thickness. Slice across the grain into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

[STEP 2] In a medium bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Add meat and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate. Soak puddle ducks in the marinade for only an hour or two to enhance, not disguise, the flavor of the duck. For diving ducks and other gamey-tasting birds, soak for 6 hours or more. 

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[STEP 3] Remove meat from marinade. Reserve marinade. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Stir-fry meat for 2 to 3 minutes or until evenly browned. Remove meat from skillet and reserve.

[STEP 4] Stir-fry peppers and mushrooms for 3 to 4 minutes. Add reserved marinade and bring to a boil. Return reserved meat to the pan and heat until warm.

[STEP 5] To serve, mound warm rice on plates or in bowls. Spoon bulgogi over rice.