KW Homestead

Pasture Raised Poultry from Our Family to Yours

Month: October 2015

Thanksgiving Turkey Update: 4 Weeks Till Thanksgiving!

With only 4 weeks to go until Thanksgiving, we sure hope you’ve started thinking about your turkey plans!

We shot this video with you in mind, hoping that this funny call-and-response “Turkey Talk” might remind you to start preparing for the upcoming holiday meal!

If you’re interested in reserving your Heritage Thanksgiving Turkey from us, click here!

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Pekin Duck Recipe 4: Lower Heat, Longer Time

We’ve been experimenting with Pekin duck recipes over the last few weeks, learning about the best ways to cook our new favorite meal! We want to offer you some of our thoughts about our simple recipes, in case you are new to cooking duck and wonder how it should be done. So far we’ve cooked 4 ducks in 4 different ways, and we do have our favorite techniques! The exciting thing that we’ve learned from all this cooking, is that it’s really hard to ruin duck, short of burning it. There is so much fat that the meat never dries out the way chicken or turkey does when overcooked. Knowing this should help quell your fear about cooking duck… Just go for it!

Here is the fourth recipe we tried!

Lower Heat, Longer Time (and a Pan Seared Breast): 250 degrees for 3 hours, 350 for 45 minutes, and a quick broil

First, cut out the breast! When you remove the breast before you cook the meat for any length of time, it allows you to choose your desired meat temperature/color when you cook it. This is our favorite way of dealing with the bird, since the skin gets all crispy in the pan! Yummy!

Then, score the skin on both sides so that the fat will cook out of the bird and pool in the bottom of the dish. This allows the meat to stay moist but the skin to get crispy!

Cover the duck liberally with salt and garlic powder.

Place the duck, breast down, in a dish and cook for 3 hours at 250 degrees. Then continue cooking the duck at 350 degrees for 45 minutes longer. If you desire even crispier skin, finish off the bird in the oven for a few minutes on broil.

At any point in time, cook the breast in a skillet on the stove. Cook it on medium heat, skin side down so the skin becomes crispy and the fat runs out into the pan! Cook it to the desired color (we think pink is the best)!

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Taste Test:

The breast was moist and delicious, with crispy skin! It tasted like a tender cut of beef and was very pink and juicy. This was our favorite breast, since we didn’t cook it in the oven before pan searing it!

The legs were moist and falling off of the bone! These were our favorite thighs to date. Also, the rest of the bird stayed moist and didn’t dry out even though it was cooked for almost 4 hours!!

The skin was super crispy, Jason’s favorite!

Yum!

Through all of this taste testing, we learned that duck can withstand a lot of weirdness and still be great! So don’t be afraid to try out your own recipes. And if you do… Let us know about them here!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Update: 6 Weeks Till Thanksgiving!

With only 6 weeks left until Thanksgiving, we thought we would leave you with a video of our free ranging Heritage Turkeys enjoying their afternoon walk…

Feeding time!

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Pekin Duck Recipe 3: Medium Heat, Pan-Seared Breast

We’ve been experimenting with Pekin duck recipes over the last few weeks, learning about the best ways to cook our new favorite meal! We want to offer you some of our thoughts about our simple recipes, in case you are new to cooking duck and wonder how it should be done. So far we’ve cooked 4 ducks in 4 different ways, and we do have our favorite techniques! The exciting thing that we’ve learned from all this cooking, is that it’s really hard to ruin duck, short of burning it. There is so much fat that the meat never dries out the way chicken or turkey does when overcooked. Knowing this should help quell your fear about cooking duck… Just go for it!

Here is the third recipe we tried!

Medium Heat, Pan-Seared Breast: 325 degrees for 1.75 hours

Score the skin on both sides so that the fat will cook out of the bird and pool in the bottom of the dish. This allows the meat to stay moist but the skin to get crispy! Do not score the skin over the breast!

Cover the duck liberally with salt and garlic powder.

Place the duck in a dish and cook for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, remove duck from oven and cut out the breast. Return the rest of the bird to the oven and continue cooking 45 minutes longer. Be sure to flip the bird a few times during the total cooking period.

Now, finish off the breast in a skillet on the stove. Cook it on medium heat, skin side down so the skin becomes crispy and the fat runs out into the pan! Cook it to the desired color (pink is the best)!

duck breast

Pan-seared duck breast!

Taste Test:

The breast was moist and delicious, with crispy skin! It tasted like a tender cut of beef, and was best served pink. Our second favorite breast, since we thought that we could have cut it out of the bird earlier, around 30 minutes…. Then pan-seared it.

The legs were moist and very good, but not our favorite thighs to date. In fact, the entire bird remained moist (just like with the second recipe)!

The skin was crispy–perfect for me! Jason thought that we could have cooked the bird maybe 30 minutes longer for even crispier skin.

Stay tuned for the fourth recipe we tried!

 

 

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Pekin Duck Recipe 2: Medium Heat, Roasted Breast

We’ve been experimenting with Pekin duck recipes over the last few weeks, learning about the best ways to cook our new favorite meal!We want to offer you some of our thoughts about our simple recipes, in case you are new to cooking duck and wonder how it should be done. So far we’ve cooked 4 ducks in 4 different ways, and we do have our favorite techniques! The exciting thing that we’ve learned from all this cooking, is that it’s really hard to ruin duck, short of burning it. There is so much fat that the meat never dries out the way chicken or turkey does when overcooked. Knowing this should help quell your fear about cooking duck… Just go for it!

Here is the second recipe we tried!

Medium Heat, Roasted Breast: 325 degrees for 2.5 hours with veggies

Score the skin on both sides so that the fat will cook out of the bird and pool in the bottom of the dish. This allows the meat to stay moist but the skin to get crispy!

Cover the duck liberally with salt and garlic powder.

Place the duck, breast up, in a dish filled with your favorite veggies (we used carrots, celery, and onion). The great thing about this is that the veggies will soak up the duck fat and become the most delicious veggies you’ve ever tasted! Add as many veggies as you’d like… There is plenty of duck fat to go around!

duck

The finished product!

Taste Test:

The breast was moist and delicious, but it wasn’t our favorite technique to date!

The legs were a moist and very good, but not our favorite thighs to date.

The skin on the top of the bird was crispy, and my favorite skin overall! But, since the bird was not flipped during the cooking time, the skin adjacent to the veggies was not crispy!

Stay tuned for the third recipe we tried!

.:.

 

Pekin Duck Recipe 1: High Heat, Low Time

We’ve been experimenting with Pekin duck recipes over the last few weeks, learning about the best ways to cook our new favorite meal!We want to offer you some of our thoughts about our simple recipes, in case you are new to cooking duck and wonder how it should be done. So far we’ve cooked 4 ducks in 4 different ways, and we do have our favorite techniques! The exciting thing that we’ve learned from all this cooking, is that it’s really hard to ruin duck, short of burning it. There is so much fat that the meat never dries out the way chicken or turkey does when overcooked. Knowing this should help quell your fear about cooking duck… Just go for it!

Here is the first recipe we tried!

High Heat, Low Time: 425 degrees for 2 hours

Score the skin on both sides so that the fat will cook out of the bird and pool in the bottom of the dish. This allows the meat to stay moist but the skin to get crispy!

Cover the duck liberally with salt and garlic powder.

Flip the bird 2 or 3 times during the cooking time, spaced evenly throughout the 2 hour time period.

Cut the breast out of the bird after 1 hour and 15 minutes and continue cooking the rest of the meat for another 45 minutes.

ducks

Ducks going in the oven!

Taste Test:

The breast was overcooked and a little dry. We learned that we should have cut it out much sooner!

The legs were a perfect moistness.

The skin was partially crispy, which was great for me but Jason would have preferred it crispier!

Stay tuned for the second recipe we tried!

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Beginning Fresh This Fall: A Homestead Recovers From an Injury

We realize that it has been almost 2 months since we’ve posted regularly… And as I’ve briefly mentioned in past posts, the last few months have been busy and difficult.

I feel that there is finally time for Jason and I to breathe, relax, and reflect on everything that has happened.

On July 31, I was in the front yard setting up electric fencing and Jason was in the back yard processing a pig. I heard a yell and knew that something was terribly wrong. Jason yelled for help again, and I ran around to the backyard but he wasn’t there when I got there. I followed him into the basement and saw a trail of blood drops from the door to the sink, with Jason running his hand under the water.

He started to feel faint and I sat him down and looked at his hand. We stopped the bleeding and I didn’t look very closely, but I could tell that he definitely needed stitches. Our closest hospital is 20 minutes away and we drove there. We spent almost 10 hours in total in the ER and driving to and from 2 different hospitals.

Jason had been using a very, very sharp 14 inch blade for processing and he switched to his left hand to make a cut. The knife slipped and gouged his right palm and index finger. He ended up with a severed artery, nerve, nicked tendon sheath (we’re thankful the tendon was fully in tact), 13 stitches, a cast, and an August 6 surgery date.

His hand was immobilized in a cast that kept the pressure off of his tendons (since they weren’t sure if the tendon was damaged until they went into surgery). After the surgery, he had to deal with a smaller cast (shown below) and the inability to move at all without feeling pain.

hand cast

Jason’s second, post-surgery cast.

His physical therapist says that he will make a full recovery, and we both consider now to be a time when things feel healed, both with his hand and with our homestead. He hasn’t felt pain for many weeks, and he has regained almost full mobility!

The homestead is now operating at a higher level than it was when he was healing (we were just trying to get through day during that time), and we’ve seen the fruits of our labors: we’ve begun to sell Pekin ducks and duck eggs. The heritage turkeys are growing every day and we can’t believe how close Thanksgiving really is!

If there is just one thing we’ve learned (and there really is more than just one), it is that the life we have chosen, our homestead life, is meant for the both of us. We need each other. When one of us is down, the other one has to try to do double (and it just isn’t possible on the scale in which we’re operating).

There is still a lot to do to catch up and get ahead and ready for winter and next year, but we’re starting to feel “normal” again.

We’ve both learned a lot about our chosen life and our partnership during the last few months, and we’re proud to say that we celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary a few weeks ago on September 27. For us, our anniversary was a great chance to think of our fresh start for this fall!

We are also going to be posting more often (let’s hope we can get back up to every day), so stay tuned for more information about new things going on around Kuska Wiñasun Homestead, like:

  • Our new dog, Coona
  • Our experience selling ducks and eggs at market
  • The new turkey house
  • Some delicious duck recipes!

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