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    Duck: Perfect Poppers

    Source of Recipe

    From "The Southerner's Cookbook" by the editors of Garden & Gun

    Recipe Introduction

    "There's nothing wrong with the standard grilled popper—a slice of wild game bird breast stuffed into a jalapeño with cheese, then wrapped in bacon. That said, a little experimentation can pay tasty dividends. First, the cheese. Too often the standard spoonful of Philly oozes out, disappearing between the grill grates. Soft, creamy goat cheese melts too, but not as fast. Next comes the duck—or dove or pheasant or even venison. Lightly press the slice of meat on top of the cheese-stuffed pepper; aim to seal the cheese inside. Then, the bacon. This is the rare instance where thin-sliced is best; too thick, and what's inside the popper will get done long before the bacon does. A final drizzle of cane syrup is like that little bit of maple syrup that strays off the pancakes and over into the sausage—a deliciously sweet counterpoint to heat and smoke."

    List of Ingredients

    ◦ 12 jalapeños, stems removed, halved, and seeded
    ◦ About ½ (3-ounce) log herbed goat cheese
    ◦ Granulated garlic
    ◦ 1 duck breast half, trimmed and sliced into 24 thin pieces
    ◦ 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    ◦ 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ◦ 24 thin-sliced center-cut bacon strips (about 1 pound)
    ◦ 24 wooden picks (presoaked in water for 15 minutes)
    ◦ Cane syrup


    Heat a charcoal grill to medium (or a gas grill to medium-low).
    Let the coals burn down until ashy and glowing.

    While the grill comes to temperature, arrange the jalapeño halves on a board. Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese inside each. Dust lightly with granulated garlic. Place strips of duck on top of the cheese-stuffed peppers, pressing lightly to seal in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

    Lay the bacon flat on the board, one slice at a time. Use two-thirds (the wider end, if the slice is uneven) of each slice of bacon to roll a popper diagonally, encasing the popper from bottom to top. Twist the remaining third over the popper's top (further insurance on keeping the ingredients inside). Push a pick diagonally through this final strip to hold the bacon in place.

    Place the poppers on the grill grate, pepper-side down. As the bacon crisps (in 2 to 3 minutes), roll each popper on its side and cook for about 2 minutes per side, then finally turn the popper so the top cooks for about 2 minutes more. If the poppers are different sizes, place larger ones over the hottest spots on the grill, and smaller ones, which will cook faster, over cooler spots.

    Remove the poppers to a plate and drizzle lightly with cane syrup. Serve immediately.

    Makes 24 poppers




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