Apricot Wild Duck with Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Polenta

Sorry to keep you all waiting on this post. Rick and I have been deer hunting in Nebraska, which left very little time for blogging. But, better late than never, as they say. We are still in NE and having a whirlwind of a time! Deer camp has officially closed down for us, so we will be back in California shortly.

I thought of this dish after thinking about braised short ribs. Apparently, it's become rather fashionable to serve short ribs over polenta, and rightly so-- It's freaking delicious! And I thought, "Hmmm... how to recreate this?" Short ribs come from cattle... which aren't exactly wild. So I ran out to the freezer and saw that we had one package of wild duck left. Suddenly, the idea popped into my head. Braised duck served over sauteed swiss chard and goat polenta! Those familiar with my eating habits know that I'm not fond of wild duck, but I figured the long braising wouldn't be so bad. Cooked in red wine, chipotle pepper and apricot preserves, you will be pleasantly surprised by its sweet and spicy taste. Pair it with goat cheese polenta, it's a match made in bird heaven! Because all birds come from heaven, you know. Except California pigeons. They eat stale french fries.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: about 2.5 hours
Braised Duck
- 2 wild duck breasts
- salt and pepper
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 2 tbs. of olive oil
- half an onion, finely diced
- 3 shallots, finely diced
- half a carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1/4 cup of whiskey (optional)
- 1 cup of dry red wine
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
- 1/3 cup of apricot or peach preserves
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Goat Cheese Polenta
- 1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
- 2 1/4 cups of water
- 1 tbs. of butter
- 2 ounces of goat cheese
- salt, to taste
Sauteed Swiss/Rainbow Chard
- 1 large bunch of swiss/rainbow chard
- 1 clove of garlic, sliced
- 2 tbs. of olive oil
- salt, to taste

I. Braised Duck

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut duck breasts into 1 inch pieces. Dab dry with a paper towel then season with salt and pepper.
Lightly coat each piece with flour. 
In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tbs. of olive oil over medium high heat. Cook duck in batches until sides are browned. Remove meat and set aside. 
Reduce heat to medium. Next, add diced onion, shallots, carrot and a pinch of salt to the pot. Saute until onion turns translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir frequently. 
2. Then turn off heat and carefully pour in 1/4 cup of whiskey. Turn heat back on to medium and allow whiskey to evaporate almost completely. 

Return duck to pot. Add 1 cup of red wine, 1 chipotle pepper, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 cups of beef broth and 1/3 cup of apricot preserves. Boil for 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper, to taste. (All ingredients should be submerged.)

Cover and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 2 hours, or until tender.

II. Goat Cheese Polenta

1. Bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal to avoid lumps. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until polenta turns creamy and soft. (Add more water if polenta is too thick.)
2. When polenta is cooked, stir in 1 tbs. of butter and 2 ounces of goat cheese. Take off heat. Add salt, to taste. Done! 

III. Swiss Chard
1. Rinse swiss chard thoroughly. Cut off the toughest third of the stalk. Cut chard into inch wide strips. 

2. In a saucepan, heat 2 tbs. of olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and saute until slightly golden. Add chopped swiss chard leaves. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Then, flip the leaves over all at once. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste to check for doneness. Add salt to taste. 
In the end, everything comes together. Serve with red wine and enjoy! 


  1. I have to tell you, this recipe is seriously AMAZING. I make just the duck portion of it, with a few changes. I don't ever keep chipotle peppers on hand, but I found a substitute online that includes BBQ sauce, paprika & cayenne. We usually serve with mashed potatoes. Our boys (5 & 2 years old) will ask for seconds. Tried it a couple weeks ago with canadian goose, and turned out awesome as usual.

    1. Hi Alison! Thanks for letting us know that you enjoyed this recipe. Always great to hear feedback from readers. Glad your boys like it!


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