Sunday, December 2, 2012

Recipe for Roast Duck - Thanksgiving Feast 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner 2012--- What The Duck?!

Our Thanksgiving Dinner throughout the years has been divided between Lamb or the standard Turkey. However this year it was decided I should prepare a Duck.  Having spent 40 + years in Minnesota, it was common for us to hunt wild game, so I have accumulated a few recipes. But this Duck is not going to be a wild duck but instead a domestic duck, farm raised, full of fat, bought in the super market frozen, and as such, with an unknown outcome. Undaunted, I embarked on the process of thawing (2 days), pricking and scoring the skin, and coating with a very light sprinkling of kosher salt.  I will not keep you in suspense any longer; the end result was a beautiful, well prepared, delicious Duck. If you have never prepared a domestic duck, be not afraid, as I will share with you my process.

1 whole Duck about 5-6 lbs.
Kosher salt

3 Tbs.  Orange juice
1 Tbs. Soy sauce
2 Tbs.  Molasses (or maple syrup)
¼ cup Honey
¼ cup Panda Express Orange Sauce.
Note: If you do not have some of these ingredients on hand, there is no need to rush to the store to purchase them, simply choose not to use them and instead, add extra honey, orange juice and corn syrup. This should give you a nice glaze.

Be sure to clean out the cavity of the bird, cut off the excess fat from the front as well as the rear including the “parsons nose”. 
Prick the skin all over, score diagonally ending up with diamond shaped marks, sprinkle with kosher salt, truss the wings and legs.

Note: This is a low and slow process that will take in excess of 4 hours to finish. Do not become overly anxious, as the reward is a juicy (not fatty or dry) tasting bird. I also placed a quartered apple in the cavity.

 If time is of the essence, increase the temperature to 350 degrees, turn the bird in 40 to 45 minute intervals, but check the internal temperature each time you turn the bird to prevent over cooking.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Roast uncovered for one hour, breast side up.
Turn the duck to breast side down, prick and drain fat from the pan. Roast for one hour.
Turn the duck to breast side up, prick and drain the fat. Roast for one hour.
Turn the duck to breast side down, prick and drain the fat, Roast for one hour.
Increase the temperature to 400 degrees, turn the duck to breast side up, roast for 10 minutes.
This is the time to brush on the glaze and finish cooking for another 5-7 minutes at 400 degrees.  By now the duck should have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Remove the duck from the roaster. Place it on a cooling rack; let it rest while preparing to serve.

I hope the pictures will help guide you through the process and although it may appear to be complicated, I think you will agree it is a matter of replication of a single step and a bit of time. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving meal and the leftovers were used for Asian duck tacos.

Note: You have probably questioned the lack of seasonings but should you desire to add herbs and vegetables to the roaster during the cooking process, by all means do. I personally found it unnecessary and derived a benefit of flavor from the glaze.

Thank you for allowing me to share some time and thoughts with you.

Clark Williams, chef