Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Product Review: Maple Leaf Farms Duck

I love duck. This versatile, bold, fatty bird is rich and delicious, and good for anything from a classic roast to a stew. Oh, it's not particularly popular in the U.S., where we'd rather feed wild fowl bread at parks than use them to feed ourselves. But Maple Leaf Farms would like to change that, and they distribute roast duck through Publix supermarkets.

But... frozen? I was skeptical. I thought it would be bland and tough. So I tried a couple of the frozen half duck with orange sauce. Turns out, I was both wrong and right.

First, the meal I made was quick and easy to prepare. Pop the duck in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 375, toss some rice in a pot, some fresh green beans in a skillet with garlic and olive oil, and boil the orange sauce in a sauce pot during the last five minutes. It's a meal Rachel Ray could showcase.

Turns out, it wasn't half bad. The bird was tender, juicy and gorgeous. So, not tough as I expected - but the flavor was certainly toned down from restaurant-quality small-farm duck. So much that the included orange sauce was a tad overwhelming, since the flavor of the frozen farmed duck is tamer than its wild cousins. 

Connoisseurs of duck won't be particularly enthused about the meal, since it's quite small in size and loses some of its decadence in the freezing process, but it's a great substitute when you can't get your fork into a fresher serving. And it's a lovely introduction to duck for those who might not have tried it. My 9-year-old daughter declared it "delicious!" She loved the orange sauce, but shunned it with the rice. Eh, kids. What can you do?

I really wanted this duck to rival that the Bourbon Street Duck at the French Market West, but they're just not in the same category. Maple Leaf Farms is the largest distributor of duck in North America, so it's kind of like the McDonald's cheesburgers of the exotic poultry world. Flavorful, but hardly the best that can be found. 

Still, for a quick meal with an air of distinction, or for a welcome change of pace, it's worth a try. 


Post a Comment