Wild Mallard with Chanterelles and Apple Compote

J – I love eating duck. Just never been hunting.

Luke brought over some wild mallard breasts from birds he got a couple of days earlier. I asked him why he went duck hunting, expecting just a quick “… because I like the outdoors and fresh duck.” Of course, not.

L – The wild ducks arrive in Sacramento as the leaves are turning and the mornings are getting colder. Duck hunting is king in this city built in the heart of rice country. I’m not sure why we are obsessed with ducks … we just are. Nobody likes getting up at 3:00am to walk through the mud and sit sweating in the water in the pitch black for hours. But, we go anyway. Once you’re out there, you don’t want to be anywhere else. It’s in your blood. When you hear the wind whooshing through duck wings, your heart beats faster. Everyone is waiting for shoot time, listening to the birds leaf down through the air in the gray light of dawn. It’s duck season again.

J – Seems a little like why I go skiing, I tell him. At least, the early morning and the dark part. Luke’s answer did remind me of our roots.

At Be Mindful. Be Human. we are on a quest for balance. More than a balance in the flavors and taste. We seek a balance in the whole food experience. Knowing exactly where the wild duck came from and of Luke’s obsession with incredible, local ingredients makes a huge difference personally. Knowing that, together, we desire to share a mindful connection with the food we cook, serve and eat helps us strive for a better world. We hope our sharing makes your world better.

But, I digress.

Wild duck, chanterelles and apple compote sounds like quite a treat.

First, the mallard breasts. Make sure there are no left-over feathers.

Start the chicken jus. It take quite awhile. Don’t rush it. We started with 8 ounces.

Then, the apple compote. It takes a bit of time, also.

Now, the mallard breasts. Simple, easy and low heat. Be sure to let it rest after cooking.

And, the chanterelles and the fingerlings. Add the jus at the last minute.

Time to plate. Nice and tidy.

Wild Mallard with Chanterelles and Apple Compote
Recipe type: Mains, Local
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 30 mins
Serves: 2
  • 2 wild mallard breasts, checked for left-over feathers. Scored the breasts lightly on the skin-side, through FIRST LAYER ONLY. Do not reveal the red meat layer
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, cut square then small diced, about ¼ inch
  • 2 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms, sliced lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch strips
  • 4 fingerling potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into ¼ inch “coins”
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tsp grapeseed oil, divided
  • 8 ounces chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken stock in a small sauce pan and reduce to about 2 Tbps.
  2. Heat a small saute pan with 1 tsp grapeseed oil. Saute apple dices slowly. When they begin to turn golden brown, add small bits of butter and continue to saute. Add more butter to keep moist. When dark brown, but still soft, add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat small saute pan to high. When hot, add 1 tsp grapeseed oil. When hot, place mallard breasts skin-side-down and reduce heat immediately to low.
  4. Cook about 10-minutes to render fat and crisp skin. Turn over and finish cooking, about another 5 minutes. Finish temperature should be 120-degrees for rare.
  5. Rest duck breast on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes. This is important.
  6. Heat another saute pan to medium and add 1 Tbsp. butter. Add fingerlings and saute, making sure to brown both sides of the coins.
  7. Heat another small saute pan to medium. Add 1 Tbsp butter and shallot. Saute until shallot is soft.
  8. After the mallard has rested and is ready to serve, add chanterelles to the shallot pan. Saute on high for a minute, stirring constantly.
  9. Pour mushrooms into reduced chicken stock [jus] and stir well. Return to saute pan to finish cooking for just a few seconds. Mushrooms should not be too soft. Mushy mushrooms are not good.
  10. Slice mallard and arrange on a small serving platter on top of fingerlings in two mounds. Place chanterelles between. Finish with apple compote on the side of the platter.
  11. Serve individual plates from platter.
  12. Enjoy!


Time to eat!

Thanks, Luke, for cooking some really great mallard and sharing your passion for duck hunting. This is the best I’ve ever had!