Scroll down for our delicious Thai Duck Salad recipe. Or keep reading for the condensed version of how I found myself on the hunt for duck recipes. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Homespun Oasis.
Our first poultry raising experience started with six chicks when we lived in Oregon. The house that we bought had a chicken coop so when spring arrived we went down to the feed store and came home with an assortment of six little fluff balls. They were a few days old were quite fun. All were *supposed* to be hens since I wasn’t at all interested in having a rooster crowing at the crack of dawn. Soon our little chicks grew and one of them did start crowing. But he was an awfully attractive guy so I decided to put up with his early morning crowing. And is mid-day growing. And is late afternoon crowing. I had no idea that roosters would crow whenever they felt like it!
Soon after the crowing started the girls began to lay eggs. I was super excited about this. Not because we planned on eating the eggs. NO WAY. That was gross and disgusting. I only ate properly prepared and cleaned eggs that came from a grocery store (yep, it’s true). I was excited because the lady that owned the feed store told me she’d buy our excess eggs for $3 a dozen. I could buy eggs in the grocery store for $1 a dozen (then) so we’d make $2 a dozen which would be enough to feed our cute little chickens. I thought it was a genius business plan. Joe thought I was crazy and we should just eat the eggs.
Eventually our handsome rooster developed an attitude problem. He’d attack us whenever we went near him. For several weeks we put up with this not knowing what else to do with him. Finally I went to the feed store lady, who I’m pretty sure thought I had a screw loose, and asked her what to do. She said “eat him”. GASP. No. We couldn’t eat him. We’d raised him from a little fluff ball. Plus, we bought our chicken from the grocery store where the meat was inspected and properly processed. No way were we going to eat him. She told me she could find a chicken ranch for him to go live on if we wanted to bring him in. Yes, I actually believed her and thought he was going to be kind of the roost in a big field with lots of hens around him. I was rather naive. Catching that rooster in order to get him ready to go to “the farm” was an adventure in itself and a story best saved for another day.
When we moved from Oregon the girls and spent several days finding new homes for our little hens. Because we weren’t moving directly to Wyoming we couldn’t move them with us. Once we settled here the plan was to get a few more hens to use as yard ornaments since that is essentially how we used them before. Before we settled in Wyoming, I read the book Nourishing Traditions and discovered that everything I thought I knew about food was wrong.
When we did finally get a few new chickens it was with the intent of eating their eggs. And when one of the hens turned out to be a rooster and started terrorizing us, we didn’t find a nice farm for him to go to. We put him in our freezer. That was the BEST tasting chicken we’d ever had. And after watching the movie Food, Inc. we decided that we would avoid grocery store chickens and would instead raise our own. Chicken processing is likely something I’ll never enjoy but it is worth it to be able to give our family high quality nutrition.
We now not only raise chickens for eggs and meat but also ducks. The duck eggs are quite nice and often when the chickens aren’t laying the ducks still are so that works out quite well. The ducks are egg layers and as a result don’t have much meat on them. The first time we processed the extra boy ducks I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with the meat. There wasn’t much of it! For the past couple of years I’ve been experimenting with different ways to cook the culled ducks. Stewing in the crock pot all day long and then picking the meat off to use for a dish is by far the best. Often I’ll make a duck stew or this delicious Chinese Stewed Duck. My newest attempt was to replicate a Thai style Duck Salad we had at a restaurant in town. The salad combined roasted duck, shredded and tossed with ginger, scallion, onion, roasted chili paste and lime juice on a bed of mixed greens. Absolutely delicious.
I wasn’t quite sure how the dressing was flavored but an internet search produced this recipe that sounded about right and became the guide for my Duck Salad. My final result wasn’t quite the same as the restaurant version but it was delicious. Definitely a winner and wonderful recipe for a skinny egg laying culled duck.
Thai Style Duck Salad
4 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoon pineapple juice (use the juice from the pineapple chunks)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sucanat
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (a little more if you like it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon hot chili sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup cashews, raw
1 can pineapple chunks
2 tomatoes, diced (optional)
2 cups (give or take) stewed duck
Salad green (enough for all)
Early in the day, put the duck in the crock pot. Cover with water and cook on low all day, until the meat if falling off the bone. Let cool until easy to handle and pick the meat from the bone. Save the meat broth for another use and, if desired, put the bones back in the crock pot and cover with water to make a bone stock.
Mix up the dressing. Combine and mix/whisk well everything but the oils. Then whisk in the sesame oil followed by the olive oil until emulsified. Set aside to allow flavors to meld.
Lightly toast the cashews in a hot cast iron skillet (or choice of skillet) watching carefully so they don’t burn. Put in a bowl, then add cilantro, pineapple chunk and optional tomatoes, gently mix to combine.
Gently heat the duck, if needed, in a skillet until slightly warm but not hot. You just want to take the chill off. I only do this if I cooked the duck in advance and stored it in the fridge.
Add the duck to the salad mixture and gently combine. Give the dressing a whisking to mix it all up then pour over the salad mixture and toss to combine.
To serve place salad greens on individual plates and top with Duck Salad mixture.