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So I bought a duck


bonkboo
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Getting good all-over results with roasting a whole duck is very challenging.  If you cook it to keep the breasts rare, there will be a lot of unrendered fat by the legs, and they legs won't be as tender as you might like.  If you cook so that the legs are done nicely, then the breasts are typically overcooked.

 

I've had best success by butchering it... I cook the breasts either sous vide (if that's an option for you) or traditionally by slowly cooking skin side down in a pan (score the skin first) until most of the fat is rendered, then roast for a few more minutes until done.   The do the legs by confit... That's how I think gets the best results...

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Also bought a duck this weekend... This time opted for curing the breasts for a duck prosciutto (Charcuterie by Ruhlman has a good recipe, so does Babbo by Batali) and doing confit with the legs (favorite is from Gramercy Tavern book). Trying sous vide confit for the first time, since it's easier for a weeknight. The carcass is being used for duck stock, but Gramercy Tavern book also has a great "Brown duck sauce" I've done before. If you don't want to cure the breasts, season with nutmeg, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf overnight then follow Kenneth's instructions above for a traditional cook. 

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18 minutes ago, bonkboo said:

teajay, how do you do the sous vide confit?  And KennethT, what time and temp for the breasts?  Thanks

 

Assuming you wanted the entire process, versus just the final sous vide step.... Season the legs with equal parts cinnamon and nutmeg overnight. Render the fat that was trimmed from the carcass that night as well. In the morning, cure the legs in a mixture of salt (1/2c), sugar (1/8c), couple smashed garlic cloves, few thyme & rosemary sprigs, few strips of lemon & orange zest. When I get home from work rinse and dry the legs, seal each in a separate bag with 1tbsp of the rendered fat and throw it in a 160 degree bath until the next morning. Weeknight confit! 

 

Franci - That recipe looks tasty! 

Edited by teajay
corrected sugar quantity (log)
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Rotisserie cook @350F, indirect heat if possible, for about an hour (depending on the size of the duck), remove from heat when internal temperature of the breast is 130F and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.  Be sure to use a drip pan as the duck will render a lot of fat! By cooking it on a rotisserie you are basically basting it in its own fat during the entire cooking process as well as developing an extremely crispy skin.

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I've never cooked a duck before, so I am curious about this. Would it be unheard of, (or just really bad idea(, to try deep frying it?  I envision submerging in a turkey-deep fryer, and wondering if it might come out lovely- like a turkey.  ?

-Andrea

 

A 'balanced diet' means chocolate in BOTH hands. :biggrin:

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3 hours ago, bonkboo said:

My first one.  I've never worked with duck before.  Should I roast?  Butcher it and confit the legs?  Cook the breasts?  What about the rest?  Help!

 

Thanks

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/12/24/255869249/hair-dryer-cooking-from-smores-to-crispy-duck

 

I made a version of Marcella Hazan's recipe some years back, and the results were exceptional.  Send me a PM if you'd like the recipe, or you can look on line for Marcella's. 

 

The recipe I used was modified from Hazan's 1978 More Classic Italian Cooking is simplicity itself in terms of ingredients, using only fresh herbs, salt and pepper to accent the duck's natural flavors. But it's way out there in terms of technique, achieving a remarkable, grease-free and glassy-crisp skin by a thoroughly non-traditional procedure: First the duck is simmered in boiling water for a few minutes, then prepped for roasting by blasting it all over with a standard home hair dryer.

 

Marcella's name for the dish is the simple, descriptive Italian "Anatra Arrosto" ("roast duck"), but for the past 30 years I've  lovingly nicknamed it "hair-dryer duck."

 

 

Edited by Shel_B (log)
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 ... Shel


 

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One of the many fond memories I'll always have of my father:  many years ago, we started a whole duck cooking competition, that we later termed "duck-off"...  he would make a whole duck one week, then I would do one a week or two later, then he would, etc., back and forth, refining our methods to try to make the 'perfect roast duck'....  The method I found that worked the best was similar to the Marcella Hazan method - I would prick the skin all over, then simmer for a few minutes.  Then drain, and let sit, on a rack, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days to completely dry.  Then roast...  My problem was that I still wound up with a pocket of fat by the leg.... other than that, it was great, but a lot of effort and time.

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I don't cook duck often, because it's hard to find for me and expensive when I do. There are some great suggestions here.

 

I'm certainly no expert, but I still have a hand written note in my Betty Crocker first cookbook that I made after my first attempt at roast duck in the 1970's. It says to be sure to prick the skin all over(!) with a fork like KennethT suggests above. Betty doesn't mention it, but Joy of Cooking does, and it results in a better duck to my taste.

 

I love me some duck, but the first one I tried retained way to much fat under the skin, and also kept the skin from crisping up properly.

 

I also love Shel_B's hairdryer idea from Marcella. I think I have read where Chinese specialists use fans to blow cool air on the ducks, and it seems the hairdryer would speed up the process. I would want to cook the duck promptly after raising the temp like that though.

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I roasted my first duck last week, using this recipe for a slow-roasted duck from Fine Cooking:

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/rosemary-orange-slow-roasted-duck.aspx

 

The basic method is to salt and pepper, stuff some aromatics in the cavity (onion, rosemary, orange), and roast at a low temperature (350°F regular or 325°F convection) for three hours. The meat was very tender and the skin was nicely crisp. There is a pan sauce, but it wasn't really necessary.

 

I would make it every week if duck weren't so expensive!

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The last time I bought a whole duck, it was to make 3 recipes from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen: Counterfeit Confit (see here), a rustic duck terrine (see here) and the surprisingly delicious duck fat cookies:

DSCF1573-001.JPG.334cd85bedadcdb53c120fc

I would recommend the counterfeit confit if you want a quick, easy and delicious version of the classic dish. Duck terrine is a god idea, but not this recipe.

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16 hours ago, bonkboo said:

My first one.  I've never worked with duck before.  Should I roast?  Butcher it and confit the legs?  Cook the breasts?  What about the rest?  Help!

 

Thanks

 

I like this recipe. The legs turn out similar to confit. The breast is well cooked but not very dry. Very easy to do. A good start for a first duck. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/slow-cooked-duck-with-green-olives-and-herbes-de-provence

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I regularly cook duck. It is the cheapest protein here.

 

I've roasted them un-jointed and never had a problem with over- or under-cooked parts, but usually I buy joints.

 

The breasts I slowly pan fry skin side down to render the fat and crisp the skin, then flip them to finish. I used to put them in the oven to finish, but they came out more well-cooked than I prefer.

 

Legs I use in many ways. Duckburgers is a favourite!

 

But I guess the particular breed of duck may have a bearing on cooking times and suggestions.

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The first time I cooked a duck I used Julia Child's recipe from Julia Child & Company.  You roast the whole duck for 30 minutes,  then skin and carve it and cook the breast meat, the legs and thighs and the cracklings all separately. It was delicious but a LOT of work. I have only done it again once ( and it took about 3 years before I had the energy to do it again.) Duck is our tradition for Thanksgiving dinner (none of my immediate family is fond of turkey and there are only 3 of us). I usually buy breast fillets. 

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Okay, duck was better than it looked.  I was working from a food and wine easy duck recipe.  Called for two and a half hours ar 425.  Flipping every 45 minutes.   Instead of seasoning with just salt and pepper, I added orange zest.  I also filled the cavity with orange pieces.  One of the comments suggested shorter periods of 30 minutes for turning and 400.  I did the first 25 minutes at 425.  Turned it to 375 for remainder.  3 more 20 minute turns and stuck thermometer into breast and thigh.  185!!!!!!!!!!!  Auuugggggghhhhh,. Took it out, turned up broiler.  Had a glaze of orange juice, zest and agave reduced.  5 minutes in broiler burned the glaze.  Let rest for 30 minutes or more.  (Parenting duties.). Then carved expecting the worst.  Turned out to be really good!  Moist.  Breast had a bit of pink.  Skin too burnt.  But ultimately a success.  Thanks for input.

 

i wanted to sous vide but wasn't feeling great about my butchery skills.  Next time.

image.jpeg

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2 1/2 hours at 425!  Egads.  I am amazed that you were able to have something to enjoy.  

 

 Edited to add I realize you didn't actually followed that. 

Edited by Anna N (log)
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When summer rolls around I like to BBQ the duck on the rotisserie with a drip pan underneath.  Turns out great and no mess.  I just use the infared element at the back of the rotisserie.  Usually takes a couple of hours.

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  • 11 months later...

I have separated the breast from the rest of the duck and vacuum-sealed it for sous vide tomorrow. The rest of the bird is in the oven in a Romertopf with a splash of pink wine.

 

But I left the skin behind. How do I cook this to make it crisp?

This is a stainless steel cookie sheet with the skin on it.

IMG_0531_small.jpg

 

Then a second sheet stacked on top to keep the skin flat. Will this work?

IMG_0532_small.jpg

 

How long? And at what temperature?

 

I didn't scrape the skin clean of fat. Should I have?

Edited by TdeV
So I could comment between pictures. (log)
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This is what the skin looked liked crisp. I have to say that I don't think much of the flavour. (I didn't put any spices on it). I cooked it for 40-60 minutes starting at 400F then down to 325F (I wasn't watching). Did I cook it too long?

IMG_0537_small.jpg

Edited by TdeV (log)
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