Anchored by a 156-year-old manor house, the Elms Lodge offers hunts on five thousand acres of Arkansas duck country, including rice fields, moist soil impoundments, and green timber, hunted from pit blinds and skid blinds. The Elms’ general manager, Bob Edwards, has led teams at lauded sporting properties around the country, and he modified this rum-inflected citrusy appetizer from an old Bahamian dish served by local cooks at Deep Water Cay, which he managed for several years. There, it highlighted local lobster and conch, but Edwards has prepared it with venison, elk, pheasant, buffalo, and now his favorite, duck. “The mango chutney injects a bit of sweetness to the rich, dark meat of duck,” he says. “It really blends all the flavors together.”
Edwards points out two factors critical to this dish’s success. First, make sure the duck skin is cooked to a crispy texture. And, he cautions, “do not substitute a cheap brand of clear rum for a high-quality golden or light brown rum.” Duck hunters work hard for every bird. Don’t torpedo the appetizer’s rich flavors by saving a few bucks at the liquor store.