Hello Bloggy friends,
I’m going to show you how to cook a duck. But more importantly, I’m going to share why you should cook a duck.
Ready for the serious, honest to goodness reason you should cook duck? Despite it being fiddly, and apart from it being actually quite delicious?
(drumroll please… )
Yes! Duck fat. Forget about nasty connotations the word “fat” has in health circles: if this stuff clogs your arteries, it’s worth it.
Here we go:
Buy a duck. This one came with all the innards removed (which may disappoint if you hanker after duck liver pâté, but .. I don’t.)
Rinse under water and pat dry with paper towel. So far it’s pretty simple, and just like cooking chicken. But wait – it gets fiddly about now.
Tie the legs as you would with any large fowl, and tuck the wings under in that pretending to be a policeman apprehending a baddie style. You know the sort of fold I mean? You swivel the wings and tuck them under the bird so they don’t burn. Pop your duck on a rack.
Then take a sharp knife, and carefully, OH so carefully, score the skin and fat of the duck in a diamond pattern. The “careful” bit is all about not cutting through to the meat. You don’t want a dry, old duck, and if you puncture the meat, that’s what will happen. Yet, you do want to give the duck fat every opportunity to run out, and the skin to crisp. So slice as deeply as you dare, but desist before striking the flesh.
Here’s a little more of the fiddly: the duck needs to cook for longer than a chicken to allow it time to drain away almost all the fat. What’s more, you have to flip that bird every thirty minutes, and poke and prod it at each turn. Most of the recipes I looked at state that ducks take up to three hours in the oven. I imagine there wouldn’t have been much of mine left to speak of if I’d done that, and it took closer to 1 hour 45 mins in total cooking time, though with the fiddling with flipping and such, the procedure took close to three and a half hours from start to finish.
Here’s a pic at the first flip. Take a pointy knife, or a sharp toothpick, and prick the skin between your scoring. This allows the release of even more of the duck fat. Then flip the bird over, and put her back in the oven.
If roasting in a shallow dish, you may want to collect the fat at each flip, so reducing the risk of a spill (and a burn!) by trying to collect it all at the end from a loaded dish.
Here’s the second flip stage – not. looking. so. yummy. But it gets prettier.
Again, prod that bird. Collect the fat.
At this stage, if you want to glaze your duck, gather:
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbls. orange juice
1 Tbls. soy sauce
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer. Stir continuously until it becomes thick and syrupy. You know this promises something good.
When your duck is pretty much cooked and no more fat is falling, drain all the fat from the pan and reserve. Brush with glaze.
You’re almost there. Pop her back in the oven for just 15 mins, then it’s rest for 15 mins (for both of you!), then… carve! Seriously, by the time you’ve finished botherating with that duck, you will barely be interested in eating it. It’s good, yes, it does taste fine, but I doubt not that it is more fun for everyone else to eat, because after all that fussing, I’m cross at the duck.
Forgiveness, however, comes in the form of .. duck fat. :D
Pre-heat your pan for roast veggies. Toss in some duck fat, and it smells glorious from the moment it makes contact. Want to see?
It’s not just that they are golden and crunchy. It’s not just the soft creamy centres. It’s the flavour. Schmack! I forgive the duck! The potatoes are worth the duck.
And that’s it, bloggy friends. How to blow hours of your precious reading time cooking, to get glorious potatoes. Or of course you can purchase a tub of duck fat from IGA. (But where’s the adventure in that? ;) )