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What’s in your freezer? Freezer-burned archeological digs? Undated mystery meat? I found a mystery package in my freezer. I don’t know the date, but I know that there had to be a good reason for me to freeze this meat. Now what do I do with it?

I defrosted the package and discovered duck; it’s like encountering a buried treasure. But frozen meat of uncertain vintage is not designed to be the center of the plate. Plus, I think this duck was a gift from a hunting friend, so I felt as obliged to consume it as I do the mounds of fresh zucchini that sometimes mysteriously appear at the back door.

My solution was to make potstickers. Grind the meat, flavor it well, wrap in dough — and suddenly a chewy, dry, freezer-burned substance is moist and delectable. Any meat would work in a potsticker; it is an excuse to repackage food.

Traditionally, potstickers include sliced cabbage or mushrooms or carrots, which provide moisture for the meat filling. Also, I added bacon because the ducks were very lean. As for sauce, a jar of cherry jam is always in the cabinet.

Duck Potstickers

  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 slices of bacon, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • freshly ground pepper
  • potsticker or wonton wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons duck fat
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

Grind the duck in a meat grinder. Add the bacon, carrot, ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy, and pepper. To check the seasonings, fry a small amount and taste, then reseason. Use a #100 disher to spoon the filling onto the dough. Brush the edge of the dough on the wrapper and fold to seal.

Melt the duck fat in a nonstick pan on medium high. Place the potstickers snuggly in the pan. When they start to crackle, add the stock, cover, and let steam for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and let all the liquid boil away so that the bottoms brown. Place a plate on top of the pan and flip the potstickers over. Serve with sauce.

Cherry Sauce

  • 1 cup cherry juice or jam
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste (sambal oelek)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all of the ingredients together and serve with potstickers.

3 Comments for “Making Mystery Meat Delicious: Duck Potsticker Recipe”  

  1. Kelly

    Sounds good! I still have some wild duck breasts in my freezer, too. I think I’ll try this!

  2. Alanna

    What’s a #100 disher?

  3. Anne

    Dish it out! I love dishers, which come in 12 sizes (and cooks really do need all 12 sizes). Dishers are stainless steel and dishwasher safe. The smallest disher (#100) is a little more than a teaspoonful and the perfect quantity for filling potstickers. The largest disher (#8) is a half-cup. Also wonderful is the oval disher, which makes mashed potatoes look like they came out of a French restaurant.