Brown Sugar-Glazed Jalapeno Duck Poppers

Per my previous post Brining Wild Duck, I essentially said that the taste of wild duck usually has me running for the hills. But I was determined to like it. Waterfowl is a huge part of the hunting world, and it was a real shame that I did not care for it. So this week, I set out to find a way to get rid of the gamey taste of duck. I brined the duck breasts for three days, and my efforts were paid ten times over!

What we have here are duck breasts which have been brined for 3 days, then marinated in olive oil, rosemary, garlic and red wine vinegar. They were then filled with cream cheese and julienned jalapeno peppers, then wrapped in bacon and glazed with brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon, which caramelized beautifully over hot coals. 

Well, in our unfortunate case, we had to broil them. A storm swept over Southern California yesterday. We had the coals started in the chimney and everything, and when Rick came out to check on them, evil struck! The air was so thick with moisture that it made the coals fall apart into a mound of useless hot dust. So that really sucked, but the broiler worked just fine. 

Rick and I absolutely loved these! They were spicy, salty and sweet all at the same time. They certainly didn't last long. We hope you all love them too!

Servings: 2 appetizer servings (10 poppers)
Prep Time: 1-3 days, depending on how long you want to brine
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
- 2 brined duck breasts, cut into 10 pieces (brining is optional)
- 5 slices of bacon, cut into halves
- cream cheese
- 1 jalapeno, cored/seeded and julienned 
- 10 toothpicks
- 2 tbs. olive oil
- 2 tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
Brown Sugar Glaze:
- 3 tbs. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tbs. water 

We brined the duck, but this is totally optional. To view instructions on how to brine, please click here
1. Butterfly the breast pieces. The bright red color reminded us of sushi tuna.
To butterfly, cut the duck breasts horizontally, but not all the way through. Lay flat. You now have thinner, larger pieces.
2. Lay the butterflied duck pieces flat between two pieces of plastic wrap. Then lightly pound with a flat mallet to flatten the pieces a little more. We used the poor man's rolling pin. Move the duck to a medium bowl.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, rosemary and freshly ground pepper.
4. Add the marinade to the duck. Marinade at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. 
5. To make the glaze, combine brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. 
Then add water and whisk well.

Taking notes as we go ... all a part of the recipe developing process!
At this point, you should probably get your grill ready.

6. Remove the duck from the marinade and fill with cream cheese and jalapeno match sticks. 
Then roll everything together with half a slice of bacon. Pierce a toothpick through the poppers to keep everything intact for grilling.

7. Grill (in our case broil) the poppers until the bacon is cooked on both sides. When they're just about done, baste both sides with the Brown Sugar Glaze. Don't do this beforehand because the glaze will just burn.
Aren't they pretty? They taste just as good as they look. 

Remove toothpicks and serve!

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  1. It has been pretty windy and evil looking the past few days, but a storm has yet to happen.
    This is a great way to prepare duck-in fact it is probably the first southwestern twist I have seen on duck.
    Very creative and delicious post!

    1. Glad you like the post! The poppers were lip smacking good. The storm has ended. It was very hot today in LA.

  2. Fantastic! Thanks for creating and sharing this recipe.

  3. Bringing on third day now getting ready to try this

  4. What would be some good sides for this dish?

    1. Anything you want, really. This is more of a finger food or appetizer, although you certainly can serve it as a side. Perhaps serve it with other finger foods like grilled corn on the cob, French fries or grilled vegetable kebabs.

  5. This is the best-looking, best-sounding, and most sensible recipe I've seen for Duck Poppers yet. Some recipes out there have too much jalapeno, which we all know can be overpowering. Can't wait to make these. Thank you!


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