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Braised Wild Duck

4 ea Wild ducks; with giblets
Salt and pepper
1 ts Powdered cloves
8 ea Shallots (or scallion or onion equivalent)
4 sl Bacon (or butter)
1/2 c Wine
1/3 c Vinegar
1/2 ts Honey or brown sugar
1/2 ea Lemon peel; grated
1 ea Bouquet "sweet herbs" (bay, chervil, parsley, tarragon, or rosemary)
1/2 ts Cornstarch, dissolved in->
1 tb Water (optional)
Croutons (optional)

While simmering duck giblets and necks in 1-1/2 cups water, rub the insides of the ducks with salt, pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cloves each. Place in the cavity of each bird its own giblets, two peeled shallots, and a tablespoon of butter. Cover each bird's breast with butter (or with a strip of bacon held in place with wooden toothpicks) and sew up cavity.
Place fowls in casserole dish, preferably one that will just hold them snugly, and add the remainder of the ingredients (except for the cornstarch and the croutons). Put in 500 degree oven for 15 minutes, uncovered, then turn down heat to 300 degrees and continue braising (now covered) for about 25 minutes more.
Baste occasionally (half broth, half wine) and each time you baste press the herb bouquet with bowl of spoon to release herb essence.
You may thicken the pan juices, after the birds are removed, with cornstarch dissolved in water.
Near the end of the braising you may wish to fry 2 to 3 pieces of bread in bacon fat, or in garlic butter, cube into croutons, and place a few on top of the sauce in the boat and the remainder in a bowl beside the sauceboat.

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