More delights of Scotland: ducks

So, people seem to have noticed that I’ve gotten a bit defensive of Scotland, lately. Unusually defensive. This is probably to do with the fact that this might be my last year of living here. When I moved to Glasgow over 4 years ago, I thought 4 years was the longest imaginable period of time. Now that I’m in my last year of uni, well… I don’t really want to leave anymore. But I also don’t want to give up on the other awesome things I’d still like to do (such as going to a different uni to do a Masters), so after this year, I’ll most likely be out of here. And that makes me kinda sad.

So it’s about time I spent the occasional moment musing over the many great things Scotland has to offer. Such as game!

I’m from the Netherlands, where nature is scarce and hunting is not done. Game is a luxury we don’t indulge in often. However, in Scotland, a country almost twice the size of the Netherlands, but with less than a third of its population, there is no lack of wilderness, or of wild animals to inhabit that wilderness, so eating game is not quite as much of an oddity up here.

Funny fact about Scotland: it’s forbidden to hunt deer without a license. However, it’s not illegal to pick up road kill. So if, say, you were to accidentally hit a deer, and if a friend of yours coincidentally drove past the site, mere minutes after the accident, then that friend could pick the deer up and take it home. It’s like the Dutch and their cannabis legislation: not completely legal, but there’s plenty of loopholes to avoid breaking the law.

However, I have no car, and if I had one, it would most certainly be one of the kind that wouldn’t survive a deer crash. I also have no friends. So no deer for me then.

Thankfully, there’s no need for these semi-legal shenanigans in order to obtain game. You can buy it in shops in this wonderland! As I wrote previously, even the fishmonger sells game in this country.

My friend C (OK I lied, I do have friends) knows about my excitement for eating unusual animals, so she’ll occasionally show up to my house with something special, most frequently rabbit. A couple of weeks ago she pulled something new out of her hat: a duck!

Because game is so special to me, and also because I hate to let anything go to waste, I decided to make the most of this duck. So after we had eaten all of the meat off it, I saved the carcass to make stock out of. So here we go, duck stock! Or if you don’t have a duck, use a chicken and make chicken stock! Different bird, same principle.

You will need:

  • everything you have left after eating all the meat off a duck
  • a large carrot
  • a couple of sticks of celery
  • a couple of bay leaves
  • a clove of garlic
  • a large shallot
  • some pepper (preferably whole corns of black pepper)
  • 2 litres of water

Peel the vegetables where necessary, and chop them all in large chunks. Stick all the ingredients in a pan together. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down. Now leave to simmer for a couple of hours.

duck stock

Skim off any foam that may form. After you’ve let the stock simmer for a good two hours, take the stock off the heat and carefully pour it through a sieve. After you’ve poured all the stock through, press the contents of the sieve carefully so any liquid that’s still in there can come out. Now you can add salt to taste, but there’s no real need to; you can just add it to whatever you’re making along with the stock when you use it.

duck stock

Big boxes full of stock, and two tiny portions, because I only ever cook for myself anyway.

Leave the stock to cool, then freeze.

About La dittatrice

After years of being based in Glasgow, I've recently made a home for myself in Turin, Italy, for the time being, at least. This blog is my captain's log. Here I note down what I did, and what I ate. A story, then a recipe. That's how this here works. Updates on Wednesdays.
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