Grilled Duck Sausage with Polenta

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If you are lucky enough to get ducks with their heads on, save the neck skin. If you buy one duck at a time, keep the neck skins, well wrapped up, in the freezer until you have four or six, and make sausages with them. You can grill, roast, broil, or make confit of the sausages, put them in soups with cabbage or shredded grilled tortillas, or serve them with a sorrel puree or with potatoes cooked in duck fat with wild mushrooms. If you do not have duck neck skin for casings, use chicken (or goose) neck skin or buy casings from a butcher.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound duck meat or combination duck and lean pork
  • 6 ounces pork fatback
  • 1 teaspoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, thyme, marjoram, sage
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch each ground cloves, coriander, and mace
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 6 duck neck skins, cleaned of excess fat, or 1 length medium sausage casing
  • 6 triangles cooked polenta
  • 1 cup tomato chutney
  • 16 sprigs cilantro

Method

Trim the duck and pork meat of all excess fat and tendons and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cut the fat into 1-inch pieces. Grind the fat first through the coarse blade of a meat grinder; then feed it through again as you grind the meat. Make sure that the meat and fat stay cold during the grinding and mixing process. If you do not have a meat grinder, put the fat and the meat in a food processor and process, using on/off pulses, until the meat is coarsely ground.

Mix in the herbs, spices, salt, and pepper and work until it forms a cohesive mass. Cook a little bit of the mixture and taste for seasoning.

Tie one end of each duck neck with a string and stuff the necks, using a spoon or your fingers. The amount of stuffing for each one will depend on the size of the necks, but they should be stuffed somewhat loosely. Tie the ends with string.

Start a charcoal fire. Grill the sausages slowly until done, turning occasionally to brown all sides. At the same time, grill the polenta until the triangles are crisp on the outside but still creamy inside.

When the sausages are done, remove them from the grill and let them sit in a warm place for a few minutes before slicing them. Serve with the polenta and chutney and garnish with the cilantro.

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