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What the Duck?

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Bill Spohn

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What the Duck?

by Bill Spohn » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:35 pm

On impulse I picked up a duck the other day and we intend to roast it for Christmas for the two of us.

Wondering if anyone has favourite roast duck recipes. Not a fan of orange or anything sweet (dark cherries are pretty good, though) and go more to the savoury side, so 5 spice powder is good etc.

Intend to roast potatoes in the pan (I save all my duck fat just for that sort of use, but in this case they can cook along together).

Will be hauling out my cook books today, but figured someone here might have some interesting twists on this theme.
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Dale Williams

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Re: What the Duck?

by Dale Williams » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:14 pm

We eat a lot of duck, but usually either breast or legs. But I did like the simple Mark Bittman recipe below, and have really liked a variation adding 5 spice (as you mention). . But my other favorite was a slow cooked (like 275 F )one with root vegetables in pan, but can't find recipe.


Step 1 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove giblets and neck from duck cavity and discard or reserve for another use. Cut off excess fat from duck cavity.
Step 2 Place duck, breast side down (wings up), on a rack in a roasting pan; add water to come just below the rack. Sprinkle duck with pepper and brush with a little soy sauce.
Step 3 Roast 30 minutes, undisturbed. Prick the back all over with point of a sharp knife, then flip bird onto its back. Sprinkle with pepper and brush with soy sauce again. Add a little more water to the pan if the juices are spattering (carefully- you don't want to get water on the duck).
Step 4 Roast 20 minutes, then prick the breast all over , and brush with soy sauce. Roast 10 minutes; brush with soy sauce. Roast 5 or 10 minutes more if necessary, or until duck is a glorious brown all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh measures at least 155 degrees. Let rest 5 minutes before carving

There are four challenges to roasting a duck by the simple method given here. The first is spattering. All that fat can make a mess of your oven. But the solution is simple: keep a thin layer of water in the roasting pan. The fat drips into it and stays there. (You'll need a rack to elevate the duck, but you should be using one for a crisp bird anyway.) The second challenge is to achieve a uniformly brown color. I cheat a little bit here and brush the roasting duck with soy sauce, which works like a charm. The third challenge lies in the carving; a duck is a little more complicated than a chicken. The best way is to cut on either side of the rib cage to remove the two breast halves, then cut the legs off the carcass. The rest is for picking. Finally, there's the basic challenge of having enough to go around, for a roast duck can easily be finished by two people. If you want to serve four, roast two, or plan on a lot of side dishes.
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Re: What the Duck?

by Bill Spohn » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:43 pm

Thanks for that, Dale.

So about an hour and 5 or 10 minutes in total. Might dust it with 5 spice as well as pepper and would put the potatoes in either beside the duck if I don't use water, or separate if I do - can remove fat and put in a separate potato pan. Also like the soy for darkening the skin! The only thing the water does (aside from the plus of controlling spitting) is make it presumably harder to harvest the duck fat. If I elect not to roast potatoes the other way we love is to make mashed potatoes but use duck fat instead of butter to make them!

No issues with amount - I know how little meat there is on ducks and geese! As for carving, another way is the traditional Chinese way (we have more Asian than non-Asian population here now, so have great Asian markets and often adopt their cooking techniques). They tend to just cut the duck up into pieces using either shears or a couple of whacks with the ubiquitous cleavers, although the later is more likely to result in bone splinters. I favour the more European method of carving like a turkey, though.

Now you've got me torn between Chinese and French methods!

Many people do not stuff a duck (precious little space in there anyway) but my favourite 'stuffing' is just shelled chestnuts - if you have too many, you can just toss the rest in around the duck late in the roasting time. My wife doesn't like the chestnuts very much as I usually ask her to peel them (which I will admit, though not to her, is a swine of a job).
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Re: What the Duck?

by Jenise » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:23 pm

I love roast duck and after many years of making various recipes, I come down to two methods. One based on a meal we had in Paris many years ago at a little left bank bistro called Chez Gregory. It was simply prepped with salt and pepper and then finished with a brown sauce made from pan drippings into which a handful of fresh blueberries had been thrown. No recipe--I just make it, and don't poo poo the idea of fruit in your savory food. The result isn't sweet, just a burst of brightness and boy does it create a bridge to a good young pinot noir. On the side, sliced and then roasted potatoes with rosemary. The combination is killer. We went back the next night and ordered it again.

And then I love the classic l'orange, but make it in a way that's much more savory than typical.

And I too love Five spice. In summer we smoke ducks after a 48 hour cure of 5S, sugar and salt. Because I'm used to that huge flavor, for oven roasting I do a simple 12 hour/overnight cure, adding a bit of water to make a brine that will soak in and rehydrate the duck. You get a much more infused flavor than simply dusting the skin or cavity.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: What the Duck?

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:52 am

I like Gordon Ramsay's goose recipe so much that I am going to do it to two ducks for Christmas Day:

4-5.5 kg fresh goose
4 lemons and 3 limes
2 tsp fine sea salt
1.5 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
small handful each parsley, thyme, sage

Method

Check the inside of the bird and remove any giblets or pads of fat. Season the cavity of the goose generously with salt. Using the tip of a very sharp knife, lightly score the bird all the way around in a small criss-cross pattern (1/2" diamonds).

Grate the zest from the citrus and mix with salt, powder, and black pepper to taste. Muddle in a mortar. Rub the citrus mix thoroughly into the skin and sprinkle some inside the cavity. Stuff the zested fruit (halved) and the herb sprigs inside the bird and set aside for at least 15 mins. Can be done up to a day ahead and kept refrigerated.

Pre-heat oven to 240C / fan 220C / 475F. Place the bird in the roasting tin. Cook for 10 mins (v: 15 mins) then reduce to 190C / fan 170C / 350F and cook for 25 mins per kg. Cover the goose with foil if it is starting to brown too much.

Every 30 mins or so, baste the bird with the pan juices, then pour off the fat (it will be at least a litre) through a sieve into a large heatproof bowl.

Thirty minutes before the end of cooking, cut open the leg joints and swing the legs out a little (to let more heat in).

At the end of the cooking time, remove the bird from the oven and leave to rest for at least 30 mins, covered loosely with foil.
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Re: What the Duck?

by Bill Spohn » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:12 am

So - made up a recipe with a rub of 5 spice powder, pink peppercorns, star anise and dried juniper berries, all ground, added to oil to make it stick and applied to the duck, roasted according to Dale's technique.

Excellent! And russet potatoes quartered and roasted in the duck fat beside the duck. Yummmm! Served it with braised fennel.

And a 1995 Selvapiana Bucerchiale Riserva Chianti that was all dark sweet cherry in the nose and mouth and clean acidic finish - perfect to offset any remaining duck fat.

Thanks for the help, everyone.
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Jenise

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Re: What the Duck?

by Jenise » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:05 pm

Bravo!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What the Duck?

by Bill Spohn » Wed Dec 27, 2017 5:21 pm

Grazie.

Tonight, beef shanks braised long and slow, with a Rhone!

And I think I may have moved SWMBO from 'we never eat duck' where she started, past 'we eat duck on Christmas' to we can eat duck any time of year.

Now I just have to woo her in regard to other fowl - perhaps by giving here a particularly nice goose....?
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Re: What the Duck?

by Jenise » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:16 pm

Does she not normally care for poultry? No chicken? (I've seen her eat wings.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: What the Duck?

by Bill Spohn » Wed Dec 27, 2017 9:32 pm

Jenise wrote:Does she not normally care for poultry? No chicken? (I've seen her eat wings.)



She eats a lot of chicken (although I had to convince her that skinless breasts were the white bread of chicken meat compared to thighs). She just isn't into duck, geese, etc.

I've cooked a lot of quail dishes (because I find them to be a nice size for an intermediate course in a dinner) and she likes those.

Another thing she isn't quite used to is cooking something the size of a goose and seeing that it has all the meat of a chicken when it looks turkey sized. You haven't seen me do whole duck at dinners because you need 2 - 3 ducks for 8 people.

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