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Game Duck Soup
with Plums and Wild Rice

There is no whipping this one up quickly--but it is really something special in the end, perfect for an elegant luncheon or light supper, followed by a rich dessert. And it's easy--just time consuming to make the stock...which you should do the day before. Serve hot to 4 people with excellent, crusty bread, a salad, and a good light wine.

Garnish: thinly sliced green onions

Put the whole duck (liver removed from giblets and used for something else*) in a Dutch oven and cover with the water and salt. Bring to a boil very slowly, skimming. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and add the leek, onion, celery, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and cloves. Keep the stock at a simmer for 2 hours. After two hours, remove the duck and let cool til you can handle it. At that point, strip off the skin and discard. Remove the meat and reserve. And return the bones back into the stockpot, to let simmer for another 30 minutes or so.

Cook the wild rice for about 45 minutes, then strain and reserve.

Strain the stock through cheesecloth or wet paper towels, cool, then refrigerate overnight. When you're ready to start the soup, you will remove and reserve all the fabulous duck fat that congeals on the top (saving most of it for other decadent meals).

To make the soup, melt a Tablespoon or two of the duck fat in a large saucepan, then toss in the mushroom quarters and onion chunks to saute over medium heat. When the onion is transparent, add the duck stock (which should be gelatinous); cooked wild rice; and the duck meat, cut into hearty chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, stir in the plums. Ladle into bowls and garnish each serving with thinly sliced green onions.

* If you wanted to be just horribly decadent, you could saute the liver with finely chopped onions, salt and pepper it, even flame it in brandy, and puree it--then cool it to room temperature, whip it into 1/4 to 1/2 cup of butter and serve it with the bread. Heaven!)