There’s a wide world of delectable poultry out there beyond chicken: turkey, goose, and all manner of guinea fowl.
And then there’s duck, which is a powerful source of nutrients like protein and iron—and, let’s not forget, FLAVOR.
A six-ounce serving of roasted duck breast with the skin has about 42 grams of protein and 344 calories. If you’re worried about calories, the same amount of duck without the skin has 37 grams of protein and 188 calories.
If you’re not worried about calories, that fat is delicious; you should also save whatever renders when you cook. (Duck fat makes for next-level hash browns, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.)
Also duck has 13,992,875 grams of deliciousness.
Especially when your recipe for duck comes from Kevin Belton, a chef and cookbook writer. His latest is Kevin Belton’s Cookin’ Louisiana, from which the following recipe was adapted.
When you go shopping for the bird, you’ll likely find three types of duck breast: Pekin (the mildest of the bunch), Muscovy (the gamiest), and Moulard (a balance of the two). The D’Artagnan brand is a good online source for all three varieties (dartagnan.com) and may be available at the grocery store, too. Make sure you buy the raw, not the smoked, kind for this recipe.
The duck in the meal that follows provides you with 43 grams of protein per serving—which is well beyond the 30 grams you need to build muscle.
To round out your meal with the 10 grams of fiber you need to stay full until your next meal, make the side dishes. They’re as delicious as the duck.
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Crispy Glazed Duck
What You’ll Need:
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled, sliced
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 duck breasts (8 oz each)
How to Make It:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine the hoisin, mirin, five-spice powder, ginger, and garlic. Pulse until it forms a runny paste. Pour into a 12-inch baking dish.
2. Pat the duck dry with paper towels and add to the marinade, skin side up. Divide 1/2 tsp kosher salt between the breasts. Marinate, uncovered, in the fridge for a couple hours to overnight. Remove the duck from the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, at least 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Pat the duck dry with paper towels again and score the skin with the tip of a sharp knife in a 1/2-inch diamond pattern. In a cast-iron pan over medium, add the duck, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the duck and sear, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip once more, transfer the pan to the oven, bake 8 minutes, flip to skin side up, and bake until the skin is dark brown, 6 to 8 more minutes. Transfer the duck to a big plate, skin side up. Rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.* Feeds 4
*Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Nutrition per serving: 419 calories, 43g protein, 13g carbs (1g fiber), 19g fat
Either of these sides will help you get the protein you need to build muscle, the fiber you need to stay full, and the awesomeness you need to leave the table happy.
Roasted Okra and Corn
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups okra (sliced), 3 1/2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen), 2 medium onions (diced), 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp Creole seasoning, and 1 tsp kosher salt. Spread the mixture onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring twice, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Feeds 4
Per serving: 227 calories, 7g protein, 36g carbs (7g fiber), 9g fat
Bacon and Greens
In a large pot, add 1/2 lb bacon (chopped) and heat over medium. Brown the bacon, 12 to 15 minutes. Add 1 cup onion (diced) and cook until beginning to sweat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 small garlic clove (minced) and cook till aromatic, 1 minute. Pour in 4 cups chicken broth; turn the heat to high. When it reaches a boil, add 1/2 lb each of the following (cleaned and roughly chopped): collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens. Add 1/2 Tbsp Creole seasoning, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp white distilled vinegar, and 1 Tbsp sugar. Cover the pot, lower the heat to medium, and simmer till tender, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Feeds 4
Per serving: 361 calories, 17g protein, 22g carbs (7g fiber), 25g fat
A version of this article originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Men’s Health.
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