We’re building a cabin out at The Sables because there’s nowhere to stay out there. There’s no house, no kitchen, no power and no running water. This presents a few key issues for someone like me who doesn’t like to forego a good meal at the end of a day.
During Winter, the lack of power and refrigeration isn’t such an ordeal, because the days and nights are cold enough to prevent most food from going off. But back in the Summer, we had some serious issues! We have invested in an expensive esky that guarantees to keep ice up to five days. Ours lasted 24 hours. Max. Keeping the three of us (myself, Matt, and dog Lady) well nourished with good, tasty meals was a challenge. After a long day of manual labour in the sun, we would need something of substance in the evenings to keep us going the next day. Which brings me to the duck stew.
One day I noticed a little duck stuck in the mud where the dam’s water level is dropping down at the edges. I quickly ran to get Matt as I thought he would relish the chance to save the little thing. I was so wrong. Long story short, after the duck dislodged itself from the mud and was chased around the dam by both of us on a kayak wielding wooden stakes (this was by far the most exciting day of the dog’s life), we had ourselves our next meal.
Matt plucked, butchered and cleaned the duck, and handed me the quartered bird. Neither of us could believe just how tiny the pieces were in the end. It did make me wonder what kind of gigantic, hormone-laden beasts are sold in the supermarket.
With limited food stocks in our tent, I had slim pickings to cook the duck with. To start, I tossed the duck pieces in seasoned flour, shook them off and seared them with a little butter and olive oil in the camp oven. The pieces were set aside, and into the pot went crushed tomatoes, white wine and the cleaned duck carcass. Once that had reduced down somewhat, the carcass was discarded, and the duck pieces went back in. We slow cooked this in the camp oven as long as we could bare, and just on the point of over-heating, we pulled it out and plated up. With the morning’s damper on hand to mop up the sauce, I must say, it was an incredible meal.
I hate to say it, but I’m really looking forward to the next opportunity to make this duck stew again, but hopefully the animal’s final moments will be a little more dignified next time! A man in his underpants on a sinking kayak, rowing with one hand and swinging a wooden peg in the other is a very ordinary way for any animal to go.