Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
Blue-winged teal are as fun to eat as they are to hunt. Likewise, for fall mushrooms. Fortunately for us, both Iowa delicacies are currently in season.
Iowa’s teal season runs until September 16th. Migrating teal have been plentiful and hunters are bringing home plenty of birds. Fall mushrooms love wet weather, and local woodlands are harboring bumper crops of puff balls, chicken-of-the-woods, sulfur shelves, and others.
Grilled teal and fall mushrooms make a great combination – they go together like a hand and glove. High on flavor, it’s a meal that is remarkably quick and easy. Once the outdoor grill is fired up and all the ingredients are in place; the entrée will only take around 15 minutes to prepare. Here’s how.
Place whole, picked and washed blue-wings [I like to serve two per guest] into the center of a covered grill with coals and chunked apple wood banked on each of side. Starting temp should be somewhere in the vicinity of 375 degrees.
Once ducks are in the grill, slice and wash whatever type of mushroom you’re using. Pat dry and season with whatever you like on chicken. Place mushroom pieces in skillet and begin sautéing in butter over medium high heat. Begin additional side dishes of choice.
If grill was up to proper temp, you can test and remove ducks in around 10 or 12 minutes — juice should be a rich pink. Let birds rest for two or three minutes as you dish up mushrooms and sides. Carve medium-rare teal breasts, remove drumsticks, and serve. It’s that simple.
My friend Lois Kotz is an incredible cook. A long time ago she taught me that “people always eat with their eyes first.” The better food looks, the better it tastes. That’s one of the reasons I like to use seasoned apple wood for grilling ducks and prefer to use freshly gathered sulfur shelf mushrooms for early autumn game dinners. The smoke and mushrooms not only add a rich earthy flavor to an already great dish; but they provide plenty of mouth-watering color as well.