Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Quack, Quack...Yum

I think I have mentioned that I am in the process of eating things from the freezer to get rid of food that is on the cusp of being in there too long.  I took out every single thing on each shelf, and as long as it could be identified, dated it with a very short use by window.  (For my personal future reference and so you don't have to make the same mistakes I did, write the name of each cooked leftover on the little space for it on the freezer bag.  Beef stew, Shepherds pie and scraps for the dog all look remarkably similar once frozen.) I also found all kinds of things I didn't even know I had, but after seeing them I did remember buying them.

One of those forgotten items was a whole duck.  I have no idea why I bought it, though we do like duck occasionally. We usually eat it out though, because I am not a huge fan of cooking it___until today.

I found the beginnings of this recipe on  Jamie Oliver's website.  As usual, once I got in the middle of it, I realized I did not have some (many) of the ingredients so I had to punt__ again. This is exactly how I made it.  Seems I should have served it with an Asian noodle bowl rather than a salad.  Oh well!

Roasted Asian Duck With Asian Side Salad

1 whole duck, giblets removed
1 orange, quartered
2 teaspoon chopped rosemary ( I used fresh, if using dried reduce to 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

After removing the giblets wash the duck and pat dry with paper towels.   Mix together the five spice powder, salt and pepper. Take the rosemary and sage and rub it into the cavity of the bird.  Use about 1 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, and five spice mix and rub it in the cavity also.  Stuff the quartered orange into the bird and set it in a deep baking pan.  Rub the remaining spice over the skin of the bird, making sure to get in the folds of the legs, thighs and wings.  Bake in the oven for one hour.  Pour all the fat into a jar and save it for later.  Return the bird to the oven for one more hour, repeating the process of pouring off and saving the duck fat.  Let the duck cool and cut the legs and thigh from the body of the bird.  Cut the breasts and wing portion from the backbone.  Throw out the carcass.  Strain the warm duck fat through a sieve that has been lined with a coffee filter. (This can be a rather long and kind of messy step, just be patient.)  Put the duck in the smallest  bowl with a lid you have that it will fit into.  Smash all the pieces together tightly then pour the fat over the top of it all, cover with a tight fitting lid and put it in the fridge until tomorrow or the day after.

The day you are serving it, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Scrape the duck fat from the top of the container* and get as much of it off the duck as possible.  Put the pieces of a rimmed baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes to heat through and crisp the skin.

Asian Inspired Salad

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce washed and torn in bite size pieces
1/2 head leaf lettuce, washed and torn in bite size pieces
1/2 head of chinese cabbage
1/2 bag of sugar snap peas ( steamer bag) thawed
4 scallions sliced in rounds
chow mein noodles sprinkled to taste


Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon Bangkok seasoning blend ( Any Asian blend would work)
dash of salt
dash of pepper

While the bird is heating, make a salad of mixed greens, sugar snap peas and the scallions.  Sprinkle the chow mein noodles on top of the salad and top with the dressing.

I know this seems like a lot of steps and work, but because it is a two day process there really is nothing to it.  I roasted the duck while I was  baking some chicken for supper.  By the time the chicken was done and we had finished eating the duck was done.

 I did have to drain the fat (If you have a turkey baster use it for this) when I took the chicken out of the oven but I had a clever little contraption rigged so I didn't have to do anything with it but pour it in the sieve.  I had a conical sieve with a coffee filter in it.  The sieve was suspended over a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup and it just slowly dripped and cleaned the fat of the browned duck bits.  I left it there the entire second hour of cooking time and when it was time to remove the bird, it had finished dripping.  I simply had to throw away that filter and replace it with a clean one then I repeated the process.  Worked like a charm!

The duck was delicious.  It might be the best duck I have ever eaten and the sentiments were unanimous, we all loved it.  It was moist and juicy, tender and delicious.  The five spice was the predominant seasoning, but it did not overwhelm the flavor of the duck.

The salad on the side was the perfect compliment to the heavy flavor of the duck.  I think the only thing I would do differently is to add some slivers of sweet and hot red pepper for a hint of color, sweetness and heat.

Son2 just walked by and asked if I was putting this on the blog.  When I said yeas his reply was "Good, it was so good it is worth putting there"  High praise from someone with his cooking skills.

If you are cleaning your freezer and find a duck, try this.  If not, go buy a duck and try it anyway.  I promise it is that good.

* Save the duck fat to cook potatoes in.  Tonight Son3 grated some potatoes and cooked them like hash browns in the duck fat.  Oh My Goodness!  It was fantastic.