Teal is one of Britain’s smallest wild ducks and belongs to the dabbling species. They are characterised by their short necks and the males’ brightly coloured markings and distinctive plumage.
Teal are known for their small size, their fast flying speeds and delicious meat. Classic recipes for duck such as the French, duck
Where are teal found?
The wild species lives and feeds in shallow fresh water, feeding on the surface of the water. There are several subspecies of
How to cook wild ducks
Wild ducks are sometimes a bit risky in terms of flavour. Mallard, the largest and most common of the wild ducks, is more reliable when it comes to a good flavour and can feed about two to three people. However, Mallards lack the sought-after gamey taste of the smaller teal ducks. At best, wild ducks are wonderful when roasted or stewed but
What to look for when buying teal
The wild duck season runs from the 1st of September to the 31st of January. The birds can be purchased from reliable game meat providers and mail order services who should be able to provide information about the duck and where it’s from as well as advice on how to cook and prepare the bird. The bird should have fresh looking flesh with few blemishes. Look out for stray feathers on the body and any tears in the flesh. Like all game, for a fuller, richer flavour, the meat should be allowed to hang for around 2-3 days.
How to cook and serve teal
Duck meat is considered a delicacy in many cultures around the world. Due to the size of the bird, one whole teal per person is an adequate portion for a serving. As the birds are fairly lean, they can dry out and become dull when cooked so should never be overcooked. Duck is best served pink to avoid it from becoming overcooked. It is much closer in meat type to a beef steak than it is to chicken; the juices of the
As the season for teal is in the autumn and beginning of winter, fresh, hearty, robust flavours accompany it well. Also, so the carcase isn’t wasted, the bones make a great stock for future dishes.