Thursday, March 7, 2013

Doing Ducks

Christiane and Greg
**Warning** If you are a vegetarian or opposed in principle to the feeding of ducks for foie gras, you may want to skip this post!

Yesterday was in 'doing ducks' Christiane's. She was gracious enough to allow Greg and I to do ducks with her and learn the process. We processed 5 ducks altogether; two for each of them and one for me. I did posts on making foie gras and confit the first winter I spent here. Click here, here, and here if you're interested in those. I'm not going to repeat the entire process here...just the highlights

We began with a huge basin full of ducks. These ducks are locally raised here, and our neighbor, Didier, had just killed them that morning. They were still warm. I'm certainly not squeamish, but warm dead ducks did have a bit of an 'ick' factor!
Here are the livers which we had to clean of blood vessels, as well as the thin connective fibers in them.
Here you see Greg cleaning one of his livers. His were done so neat and tidy, while mine looked like they'd been severely beaten. Okay, but in Greg's other life, he was an oral surgeon; I expect him to have a delicate touch!
Liver pieces packed in jars for processing.
These are duck parts that will become confit. They're cooked in fat, then placed in jars. Christiane then put in two ladles of melted duck fat. They're processing as I write this.
Maigrets or duck breasts. Mine are in the freezer.

We started about 9:30 am and finished for the day at 1:00 pm. I went home and promptly took a nap, exhausted! Let me just say that dismembering a duck is a lot harder work than I thought it would be.Or maybe it was the two glasses of wine we drank when we finished?
Our reward for a hard morning's work. We ended up with 18 jars of foie gras. Here you see my jars which are now safely tucked away in my cupboard. There's more to the story, though, so check back!


  1. I've always wanted to try duck!! Now I am hungry :)

  2. Well, you have to be a meat eater here!! A number of our French friends have been involved in similar work recently, although we never have. Although I love foie gras and every product of the duck. All this, of course, dates back to the time before refrigeration. But it's still an important part of life down here.

  3. It was a fascinating experience, and one I'd do again. Although I don't want to invest in all the pots and pans for processing. I think the French often do these things together. I've canned veggies, fruits and meat in the States, so I have an interest in food processing. It amazes me that fat is a preservative.