Of The Birds

Easy Seared Duck 

2lb duck breast

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

1lb fingerling potato

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup red wine

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup orange juice

4 Tbsps. honey

Pat dry duck breasts with a paper towel.  Score duck skin with sharp knife, making sure to not cut into the flesh.  Season duck breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until fork-tender. Drain potatoes in a colander.  Gently smash potatoes.  Preheat oven to 400°F.  Starting with a cold (it is important you do NOT preheat the skillet) and dry oven-safe skillet, place duck breasts skin side down. Cook for 12-15 minutes over medium heat.  Flip breasts over and sear the other side for 1 minute. Flip to skin side down again, and transfer skillet to oven.  Roast for 4 minutes for medium-rare, or 6 minutes for medium.  Rest duck skin-side up for 10 minutes. Do not discard fat in the pan.  In a small pot, combine the red wine, chicken stock, orange juice, and honey and reduce by half over medium heat.  Fry the potatoes with remaining duck fat in pan, until golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and rosemary.  Slice duck into ½-inch pieces.  Serve with sauce and potatoes.

Recipe adapted from


Smothered Pheasant

6 skinless, boneless pheasant breast

salt and black pepper to taste

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 cups half-and-half cream

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Season breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour onto a plate, and press pheasant breast into flour until completely coated. Shake off excess flour and set aside. Melt butter in an ovenproof Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften.  Cook pheasant breasts in hot butter until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Pour in half-and-half and bring to a simmer.  Cover Dutch oven and bake in preheated oven, flipping breast after 30 minutes, until pheasant breasts are tender and no longer pink in center, about one hour.  An instant-read thermometer inserted into center should read at least 165°F.

Recipe adapted from


Oven Fried Turkey

4 (1/2 to 1-inch) turkey cutlets

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

2 large eggs

2 Tbsps. spicy mustard

Dash hot sauce

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Grease a large, shallow baking pan or line it with parchment paper or nonstick foil.  Pat turkey cutlets with paper towels to dry and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  In a bowl, beat eggs with spicy mustard and a dash of hot sauce and set aside.  In another bowl, combine crumbs and cheese.  Dip turkey cutlets in egg mixture, coating well, then coat with crumb mixture. Arrange in lined baking pan.  Cook for 12 to 20 minutes or until cooked through, depending on thickness.

Recipe adapted from


Slow-Cooker Cheesy Salsa Chicken

4-6 uncooked chicken breast 

1 (16 oz) jar medium chunky salsa

1 cup milk

1 medium onion, diced

1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies

Salt to taste

1lb block of Velveeta Queso Blanco, more or less to taste

2 cups cooked Mexican rice

(If you don’t need to feed so many, go with 2-4 chicken breast and half a block of Velveeta or less to taste or you can also use 2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese.  If using the shredded cheese, reduce milk to ½ cup)

Line 6 qt slow cooker with crock pot liner (these are a life saver when it comes to clean up!). Place chicken breast in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt. Pour salsa and milk over chicken. Add onion and diced tomatoes and green chilies.  Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low 6-8 hours or until chicken is cooked through. If you want to make tacos or quesadillas out of this, shred the chicken now using two forks and return to slow cooker.  30 minutes before serving, open slow cooker and add cheese over the chicken. Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes with the slow cooker on high, until the cheese is melted and the salsa is bubbling. NOTE: Keep the lid closed to keep the cheese from drying out or overcooking.  Serve chicken over rice or on tacos with a side of rice. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and/or onion, if desired. 



First let me say, I didn’t try this.  Anthony suggested it and I thought it would be fun to include it in today’s column.  

1 ½ cups fresh sage

½ cup packed fresh parsley sprigs

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

¼ tsp salt

½ cup olive oil


1 medium fennel bulb, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

¾ cup unsalted sweet cream butter, cubed

4 garlic cloves, minced

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

12 cups cubed day-old sourdough bread

1 cup chopped peeled ripe pears

¾ cup chopped hazelnuts

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup egg substitute


1 turkey (16 to 18lbs), skin intact and deboned except legs and wings

1 duck (4 to 5lbs), deboned

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4lbs), deboned

Large needle syringe for injecting turkey

Kitchen string

1 Tbsp. olive oil

For pesto, place sage, parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic and salt in a food processor.  Cover and process until blended. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream and set aside.  In a large skillet, sauté fennel and onion in butter until tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, pears, hazelnuts, fennel mixture and 1/2 cup reserved pesto. In another bowl, whisk broth and egg substitute. Pour over bread mixture and stir until moistened. Cover and refrigerate until assembly.  Place turkey skin side down on a work surface and press 5 cups stuffing mixture over turkey. Layer with duck skin side down and 4 cups stuffing. Top with chicken skin side down and remaining stuffing.  Carefully pull turkey skin over filling. Truss turkey skin at 1-in. intervals with a large needle and kitchen string. Tuck wings under turkey and tie drumsticks together. Place breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan. Brush with oil.  Bake, uncovered, at 325°F for 5-1/4 to 5-3/4 hours or until a thermometer reads 180° in the center of turducken, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly. During the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush remaining pesto over turducken. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes before slicing.


Recipe adapted from taste of