Finding inspiration in food a good thing.
For me, a focus of my day, ‘the’ focus when traveling, but always an important part of my daily routine, is dinner time.
The planning, the prep, the execution, the eating – the entire culinary experience.
Whether dining alone, with a significant other, or with company.
A glass of wine and a leisurely meal is an important time to center ourselves.
Not that hard using the recipes on the website.
Duck, I decided to have. A couple of days ago.
Sounds so challenging.
In fact, so easy.
I located a meat department that has a duck and I bought it.
Last night I spent six (6) minutes prepping the bird.
This morning I put it in a 200* oven for a couple of hours and then took it out.
Thirty seconds each way.
Went about my day knowing that a roast duck waited for me.
It just had to be put back into the oven for a browning.
Have a drink.
Set the table.
Forty-five minutes after getting home we’ll eat a roast duck.
At least I will.
Make dinnertime important.
Today is Sunday, June 10, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my sixty-fourth consecutive daily posting.
Another beautiful day.
On TV: “Hotel Berlin,” made in 1944. The lives of various desperate people intersect at the Hotel Berlin, a hotbed of Nazis, officers, spies and ordinary Germans trying to weather the inevitable defeat.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is sautéed U-10 scallops. On sale.
For those who had tried to contact me using the Google Email link, my apologies for the glitches.
So much to learn.
It’s fixed now.
Simple when someone shows you.
Note that in reworking the “Chicken, Roast” recipe in conjunction with the duck, I made some very small tweaks to the chicken. Find it in the Recipes section of the website.
I spent my creative time bringing the “Duck, Roast” recipe in line with what I had learned in developing the “Chicken, Roast” recipe recently posted.
Here it is.
So proud to call this ‘signature.’
It’s as stress-free as perfection gets.
It’s simple: no gravy, no stuffing.
It’s simple: no guesswork.
It produces crispy skin.
And juicy meat.
It produces the lovely color we look for in our roast duck.
It’s amazingly delicious.
It’ as easy and surefire as the boiled eggs recipe we posted at an earlier date.
And it comes out every time.
Start with buying the finest duck you can find.
There are many options in a big city like Boston and I hesitate making a list.
Bell and Evans is an excellent brand because of its market penetration.
Buy the best you can afford.
The night before we cook and eat the duck, prepare four aspects of it.
Gather odd pieces for a stock to be made after we’ve eaten the duck
The night before we eat it, wash and dry the fresh duck.
Remove the neck and the giblets and cut off the wings.
Put all of these, except the liver, into a plastic bag and freeze.
Later, when we’re finished eating the duck, we’ll use these pieces, with the leftover duck carcass and other pieces, to make a small duck stock which we’ll reduce to gravy richness with which we’ll supplement our container of duck gravy.
Note that making a stock with the duck leftovers is more important than making a stock after a chicken dinner or a turkey dinner.
It's much easier and less expensive to buy chicken or parts for a chicken stock or beef for a beef stock (or turkey) than it is for duck.
I make my chicken and beef stocks independent of the dinner.
Second, cut off the large fatty flaps of skin found at duck’s cavity and around the duck’s neck, and cut off the duck’s ass and add it to the cache of fat as well.
Cut the fatted flaps into small pieces, 2 inch squares, put them in a fry pan, and render them at a simmer.
It takes about a half hour.
What we get is liquefied fat that is easy to put into a container and freeze for future gastronomic events like eggs fried in duck fat.
Saute’ and eat the liver as the chef’s perk.
Prep the duck for roasting
Fourth, still at the night before.
Brush the duck with a slurry of 2t salt, 2TB of baking powder, 1t onion powder, 1t garlic powder, 1TB freshly-ground black pepper, and 4TB water.
Overnight, the air, the salt and the baking powder will dehydrate and break down the duck’s exterior, preparing it for a good browning.
Set the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and refrigerate the brushed, uncovered duck overnight.
Roast the Duck: the “At our Convenience Method.”
As soon as we wake up we can put the bird in the oven.
Don’t freak over the whitish color of the bird: it’s what we want to happen with the dehydration and seasoning.
Think crispy skin; nicely colored skin.
We’ll slow-roast the duck in a 200* oven for 27 minutes per pound.
A 5.5 lb. duck will spend 148min in the oven, 2hours and 8minutes.
When time is up, take the duck out of the oven and loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
Note the absence of drippings in the roast pan.
They are where they belong: in the bird.
The whitish color hasn’t changed.
Go about the day.
Finish the Duck
Finishing the duck will take 45 minutes, including 20 minutes for the duck to settle.
Set the oven rack on the lowest shelf.
Turn on the broiler.
Remember that every oven is different so we’ll adjust these times to our own ovens.
Trial and error is involved.
Before putting the roasting pan in the oven, be sure that the duck breast facing the broiler is level.
I use a small thick bowl, tipping it into the end of the duck that I want to raise.
Since the roasting pan is far from the broiler the heat won’t break it.
When the oven is hot, set the roasting pan with the duck on that lowest rack.
Broil the duck, breast side up, for six minutes.
Check the duck after the six minutes.
Likely it will need a little more color.
Duck still looking dry.
Desirable for this moment since we’re crisping the skin.
Return the duck to the oven and continue to brown it until it’s evenly and attractively brown.
In my oven this takes only 2 more minutes.
Flip the duck so the backbone is facing the broiler.
This side is usually level naturally.
Brown this side for 6 minutes.
Check it. My oven needs 2 more minutes to nicely brown the duck.
Then lay the duck on its side and brown that for only three minutes since the sides rest higher than the breast or backbone.
Flip it and brown the other side.
When all of the duck is nicely browned, take the duck out of the oven and check the temperatures of both the breast and the leg.
We are looking for approximately 125* for the breast and 135* for the leg.
The temperature will determine how long more to keep the duck in the oven.
Before we brush olive oil all over the bird, notice and be proud of how dry and crispy the skin has become.
Delicious waiting to happen.
Turn the oven to ‘Bake’ and set the temperature for 500*.
Pour 3TB Asian Oil (see Recipes, Always on Hand) in a small bowl and thoroughly paint the bird all over.
Like magic, the duck is beautifully golden-brown.
Return the duck to the oven.
If the temperature readings were 125* for the breast and 135* for the leg, the hot roasting will only take 6 minutes.
But here we pinpoint control the cook by adjusting the time of this final roast depending on the temperature reading.
Take the duck out of the oven and check the temperature of the breast and the leg.
We are looking for approximately 145* for the breast and 150* for the leg.
Note that the French prefer their duck sanglant, or bloody. Those vampires among us preferring rare beef likely prefer rare duck. So reduce all the temperatures given here by 3* and see if that is more to your taste. Or reduce the slow roast time to 25 minutes per pound.
Collect the juices from the cavity of the chicken for use later in a stock.
Later, add the juices from the cutting board.
The recipe for the "Gravy, Duck, Post-Gravy" will need these juices.
Allow 20 minutes for the duck juices to settle.
The temperature will go up by 5*, reaching the optimum 155* for the breast and 160* for the thigh.
While lower than the USDA recommended, still higher than the 145* that kills the pathogens.
The result: Roast Duck extraordinaire!
Succulent, simple, absolutely delicious.
We may serve the duck as is, no gravy.
The juicy meat and the crispy, salty, seasoned skin easily stand on their own.
And for goodness sake, eat the delicious skin.
Cut out the cream puffs.
Carving the duck
Separate the leg by slicing through the skin and meat to expose the leg joint that holds the leg to the bird’s body.
Pull the leg away to expose the connection, finishing the separation by cutting at the joint with the bone knife.
Repeat this for other leg.
Cut off each of the wings by pulling each while slicing at the joint.
Separate the breast meat by cutting down alongside of breastbone, pulling the meat away as we slash and slice.
Repeat for the other side.
Slice the breast meat into rounds, like firewood.
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