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Roast Wild Duck

Serve wild ducks on toast to catch every drop of their succulent juices. Buy a round loaf of coarse-grained French bread and cut pieces approximately the same size as the birds. If the crust is overly tough, remove it before toasting the slices. Serve the birds with the thyme and lemon quarters inside their cavities. The tart, herb-flavored juices cut the richness of the ducks. For smaller birds, decrease the cooking time.

4 Mallard or other wild ducks, about 21/2 pounds each
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, quartered
Four 1/2-inch thick slices coarse-grained country-style French bread, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a roasting pan with foil (this makes cleanup easy).

Pat the birds dry with paper towels. Season them inside and out with the salt and pepper, generously rubbing it into the skin. Divide the lemon quarters and thyme among the birds' cavities.

Roast the birds for 25 to 27 minutes, or until the juices run a rosy color for a medium-rare bird, clear yellow for a well-done bird. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes more to crisp the skin, if necessary.

Serve the birds whole on the toast. Serves 4.

"Wild About Game" by Janie Hibler

Thursday, March 11, 1999

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