We just wrapped up an entire week up in North Dakota duck hunting. There is nothing better than disconnecting for an entire week – and I mean really disconnecting, we barely get cell phone service – watching the sun rise and the sun set every day, riding around North Dakota in the beautiful Sheyenne river area scouting for where the birds are, sitting in your layout blind or in the slough watching the birds fly through the area, and best of all watching them set their wings and decoy right in to where you want them. Then comes trying to find new ways to cook the bounty of the hunt. This casserole-like dish made with duck sandwiched between some cornbread stuffing is one of our new favorites.
The duck is boiled in water and butter and some apple juice until it’s nice and tender. Meanwhile you make a great cornbread dressing with sautéed apples and onions. I found the recipe here.
Please excuse the quality of the pictures in this post, I was up at duck camp after all. I hadn’t remembered to bring my good camera and was shooting with my husband’s cell phone. And my uncle’s kitchen – while fully functional – wasn’t designed with lightning for food blogging in mind. So while the pictures might not be perfect, the food we make usually is.
Here’s what you need:
For the duck:
For the dressing:
Get the duck started. Place the duck in a large skillet or pot. Add water and butter. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until tender. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until the water evaporates. Then add some apple juice and cinnamon and simmer an additional 15 minutes.
When the duck is done shred or chop it into bite sized pieces.
While the duck is simmering make the cornbread dressing. I premade some cornbread using the jiffy boxed mix, so I started by cubing that into about ¼ inch cubes.
Sauté some apples, onion, and celery until it’s tender.
You’re going to want a really large bowl to mix the dressing up. Start by whisking together the egg, melted butter, cream of chicken soup, poultry seasoning and milk. Then stir in the cooked apple mixture. Finally gently fold in the cornbread until it absorbs most of the liquid.
I made this for a crowd at duck camp – about 7 or 8 of us so I used a large 9×13 deep disposable aluminum pan. The pan is also for no dishes at duck camp – we can throw it away when we’re done! You’re basically going to layer the duck between the dressing. Start with half the dressing, add the duck, and add top with the second half of the dressing.
Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour. The dressing will be nice and golden brown. If the dressing isn’t set by this time, cover with foil and continue baking.
If you’re not a wild game fan or not a hunter, you could easily make this with leftover shredded brisket or even chicken or turkey. Heck – I’d use this cornbread dressing for my Thanksgiving turkey too! I LOVED the cornbread part of the stuffing. It’s just slightly sweet from the corn flavor with the apples and onions mixed in. Yum!
This can easily be made ahead of time and baked when you’re ready. Add about 15-20 minutes if starting from a refrigerated casserole. This is what we often do – prep dinners over the lunch hour and throw them in the oven when the hunt is over while we enjoy a little cocktail hour.
- 12 duck breasts
- 2 c water
- 1 stick butter
- 2 c apple juice
- ¼ t cinnamon
- Cornbread Apple Dressing:
- 2 boxes Jiffy corn bread mix, cooked per package directions
- 4 c apples, peeled and chopped
- 1 c onion, chopped
- 1 c celery, chopped
- 1 t poultry seasoning
- 2 eggs
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 cans, cream of chicken soup
- 2 c milk
- Place the duck in a large saucepan. Add water and butter. Bring to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes until tender. Remove lid and continue cooking until all the liquid has evaporated. Add apple juice and cinnamon and simmer and additional 15 minutes.
- Remove duck and shred or chop into bite sized pieces.
- While the duck cooks, prepare the dressing. Cube the cornbread into about ½ inch cubes. Sauté the apples, onion, and celery until tender with a small amount of oil.
- Using a large bowl, whisk together the poultry seasoning, egg, butter, cream of chicken soup and milk. Stir in the cooked apple mixture. Gently fold in the cornbread cubes.
- Grease a deep, large 9x13 pan (like you would cook a lasagna in). Layer in half of the cornbread stuffing. Spread the duck in an even layer. Top with the remaining cornbread stuffing.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour or until the cornbread dressing is set and lightly golden on top.