[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Simple Roast Duck
8 September 2011
[The final dish]

Duck is not a stranger to our home. I've confited them, used the confit in various ways, smoked them, dry-cured them, and sometimes even roasted them in various configurations. However, it's always been a sort of exceptional treat.

Imagine my surprise then, when I noticed that a whole duck from my upstate supplying consortium can be slightly cheaper per pound than the chicken we buy from them. The immediate result was, of course, that I bought a duck. As I often do when trying new products or provisioners, I wanted to treat it as minimally as possible to get a good handle on taste, quality and the way it will behave in the kitchen. Thus, I decided on a very simple roasting.

Simple Roast Duck

If your duck is frozen, thaw it, of course. If it came with giblets, remove them. You can either start simmering the giblets immediately for a sauce, or save them for later. (I popped them into the freezer for an as yet unscheduled offal-fest.) Snip off the last joint of each wing and save those for stock or sauce, as well. Give the duck a good rinse, take a small sharp object (pin, icepick, skewer, etc) and poke a few holes in the skin on the breast, trying to avoid poking the meat. The idea is to give the fat room to run, if it should be so inclined. Salt and pepper the bird, then stick it in a roasting dish on a rack. The rack can be important - if the duck is a fatty one, you could end up with quite a bit of grease and you might not want the duck sitting in it.

[Veggies for duck] Preheat the oven to 425F. Stick the duck in, breast side up, for 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350F and baste the bird with any grease that has run down. Let it cook hour-and-a-half to two hours, basting it every twenty minutes or so. When the juices run clear and the legs are wobbly, which is to say, the same way you tell if a chicken is done, the duck is done.

You could just leave it at that, but when I do a simple poultry roast, especially at this time of year, I want to add root vegetables. In this case, I used potatoes and carrots. Cut them into pieces which are about the same size, and add them to the duck at one of the basting points. The potatoes will probably need at least an hour and the carrots at least forty minutes. It wouldn't hurt them to go in a bit early, as long as you don't mind them a bit mushy.

[The duck, all cooked] Pull the duck out and let it rest for fifteen minutes or so. Meanwhile, reduce the fat and juice left in the dish for the same amount of time. You could deglaze it with a little wine or something, if you feel the need, but I didn't.

Nota Bene:
The leftover bits and bobs are handy for a stew. We ate about half the duck at the first sitting, then, a few days later, tossed the leftovers, including all the juice, into a crockpot with a few more potatoes and carrots and let it run at low for eight or ten hours while we were out and about. It was lovely.

© 2011 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite