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Thread: Salt Water Puddler Pot Pie

  1. #1
    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Salt Water Puddler Pot Pie

    Every duck season when the swamps and ponds and backwaters freeze up we always find ourselves hunting down along the coast - fighting frost bite while winging ducks in the wind and the snow. The hunting can be great but sometimes those salt water puddlers take on a little bit of a low tide flavor. I for one love pretty much anything that comes out of the ocean, whether it swims, crawls or sits in a shell. I also don't mind the taste of the meat that comes off a duck that's been dabbling in a salt water marsh. But some people I know have compared it to taking a wood slice off the underside of an old dock at low tide. I say that's only because they prepared their meal improperly. Brining the meat for a day or so in the fridge can help remove some of that low tide flavor. I've read a bit over the years about brining duck and goose meat. I've done it for beaver meat but noticed a minimal difference. I didn't want to brine the duck meat. So, with three packages of salt water puddlers left over from last season in the freezer, I pondered with what to do with them knowing that my fianc would not much care for the "fishy" taste. Stew? No, it's not cold enough yet and I make plenty of stews in the winter time. Soup? Same deal. Grind the meat up for a little bit of sausage? Nah. Pot pie? bingo!

    For the most part meat pies are hearty, stick to your ribs, comfort foods for the dead of winter. At least in my mind. But once the idea came to mind I was hooked and had to give it a run. Did some recipe research. Found a lot of recipes online that seemed mediocre. Tapped into the family resources of recipes. My Grandma from Sweden, oh could she cook a hearty meal. But I wasn't thrilled with the one pie recipe my mom sent over. I love awesome flavor from simple ingredients so I was looking for a tried and true recipe that sounded basic but would make you crave more. So after a while I decided I'd take the best from two recipes online and combine them - Ducks Unlimited Pot Pie and Delta Waterfowl Pot Pie. Why not? Two great organizations - maybe their pies are good. You can find both online pretty easily.

    The Delta recipe is much more involved. The DU a bit simpler. Prep time for the ingredients took only about 30 minutes. I diced up the meat from one gadwall, one black duck and one mallard. Breast and legs. Tossed all the meat into a deep cast iron to brown it in oil and a modified spice mix (off the Delta recipe - I left out the cumin, chili power and brown sugar and dumbed down on a bit of the spice from the pepper flakes - didn't seem proper for a meat pie) before adding in two cups of veggie stock (I think it'd be great with stock made from a couple duck carcasses). In the mean time I diced up some garden potatoes and carrots, couple cloves of garlic, two large stalks of celery, a parsnip, some white cap mushrooms and a white onion. Left out the frozen peas, only because we didn't have any in the freezer. Tossed all the veggies into a buttered pan and cooked until the onions were clear. Sprinkled in two heaping tablespoons of flour and mixed for a few minutes. Then all the veggies got dumped into the cast iron with the meat and stock. Once combined I boiled down the stock about half way. It had turned into a nice gravy loaded with tender meat and veggies. Dumped it all into a pie tin with store bought pie crusts and baked at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. What came out of the oven was pure awesomeness! The flavors of the spices and vegetables combined perfectly to cover any and all low tide flavor. The meat and potatoes came out soft and tender. We both devoured a huge chunk of the pie within minutes. There are a lot of recipes online that take the better part of a day to cook and I'm sure they're more authentic and true to a European meat pie, but this quick evening attempt at making a duck pie proved to be excellent.

    So, if anyone who hunts ducks down on the salt water is looking for something new to try with the meat, give a duck pot pie a try. Or, as I like to call it, "Salt Water Puddler Pot Pie."


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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye Logun S16 Champion, Backyard Shootout Champion TooManyHobbies's Avatar
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    Well, hell, it looks good. Especially without the peas, I hate peas. When does your Woodsman Cookbook come out?
    NOBODY EVER SHOT BAMBI....they shot his momma.

  3. #3
    Awesome job on a Great write up! My mouth is watering just thinking about this recipe.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Great write up Adam!

  5. #5
    CTHS Supportor Horizontal Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bishopreid83 View Post
    Awesome job on a Great write up! My mouth is watering just thinking about this recipe.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Exactly what I was thinking. Yum.

    Bob
    Vegetarian: vejiˈte(ə)rēən/noun: old Indian word for lousy hunter.
    Excalibur Exocet, GT Laser II, 2" Bhoning Blazers 125g NAP Spitfire

  6. #6
    Looks really tasty.

    For getting rid of the 'fishy' or 'gamey' flavors try soaking in milk for a while. I'd guess 30 min up to maybe 2 hours max. I usually shoot for about one hour. The meat doesn't have to be covered (can be a lot of milk). If it is about 1/2 covered and turned from time to time that has worked for me.

    The lactose in the milk (use whole milk) reacts with the nitrogen compounds called amines that make those smells/flavors. If you are interested the reaction is the Maillard reaction. The same reaction is used to give that nice browning in some cooking and baking.

  7. #7
    man that looks awesome, the crust looks right on point also... fiance???

  8. #8
    14 pointer WoodsmanA's Avatar
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    Yes sir. Getting married the end of October next year. After early duck season, of course.
    Licensed Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by WoodsmanA View Post
    Yes sir. Getting married the end of October next year. After early duck season, of course.
    Good for you Adam!!


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