Braised Teal With Sausage, Mushrooms, and Cherries
I love teal. Small in size, these ducks are big in the flavor category. Teal always seems to pair well with fruit. For this recipe, we braise the plucked ducks in a traditional Cajun style with a roux, bell peppers, onions, celery, and sausage, then add mushrooms, apple cider, and dried cherries to slowly simmer until the teal are tender.
We sometimes breast out larger ducks, but teal always get the time required to pluck whole. You can pluck them dry or dip them in hot water or, even better, melted paraffin, but whichever method you use, this is a duck that's worth it to keep the skin on.
We cook this one in a large Dutch oven. You can do it all on the stovetop or start it on the stove and move it to the oven to finish. Serve the dish over rice.
3 to 5 plucked teal
1/2 cup lard, bacon grease, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pack (14 ounces) of Realtree smoked sausage, sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms, halved
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups apple cider
Start by heating the oil of choice in a large Dutch oven. If using bacon grease, save the crisp bacon to add back at the end for a touch of smoky flavor. Over medium heat, add the flour to the oil. Stir to begin a roux.
For this recipe, you want a medium roux, so stir constantly until the flour is the color of dark peanut butter. For this pot, that took about 30 minutes. Never walk away from a roux. If you stop stirring, the roux will burn, and there is no fixing a burned roux other than tossing it out and starting over.
Once the roux has reached the desired color, add the celery, onion, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Add the sliced sausage, then the teal, turning often until the teal is browned lightly on all sides, finishing with the teal breast side down in the pan.
Add the mushrooms and dried cherries. Pour in the apple cider. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to hold it at that level.
Place the lid on the Dutch oven and cook for 60 to 75 minutes until the duck is cooked through and tender. Serve over rice.