I am going to demystify this much-neglected poultry, Duck! Love it or hate it! I love it!
Duck has a rich and distinct flavor. It goes well with fruits, other sweet ingredients and spices which give a delicious and exotic taste. It has a higher fat content than its winged counterparts (e.g. chicken and turkey). But the fats are there for a reason. You may remove the excess fats at the rear but do not remove the skin of the duck. That's the best part. I guess that is why the skin is much sought after delicacy in China, "The Peking Duck".
I have never cook a WHOLE duck before. I have cooked duck breast and chopped duck but never the WHOLE duck. The size of the bird was a bit daunting as most of my wares hardly could fit the fellow. And furthermore it is a challenge to cook the distinct scented bird. That is probably why the Chinese use spices and Westerners use strong flavored fruits to bring out the best flavor in ducks.
After a wonderful "Turducken" Thanksgiving dinner at my friend's house in New Jersey, I decided I would cook a bird for Christmas. Few days before Christmas, I went to Whole Foods (the place which I know the duck is fresh and clean) to get a fresh duck. Of course, it came up to a bomb. I chose a smaller duck as it would only need to just feed my hubby and I. Despite the modest mass, it costed me US$20. Anyway, it probably cost more in a restaurant. I really hope this turned out well. The other ingredients that was required in this recipe was also hard to find. I had to run to few stores to get what I need and had to modify some. But it was ALL WORTH IT! We finished the entire duck and cleaned it to its bones. Then a question popped, "Why didn't I buy a bigger duck?"
1 whole duck
1 Yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
6 sprigs of thyme
Salt and black pepper
Clean the duck well. Remove all innards and strayed feathers.
Remove excess fats at the rear.
Remove the wing tips with a knife.
Pat the duck dry with kitchen towels. Both inside and outside .
Rub the duck with salt and black pepper. Both inside and outside.
You may pull the excess neck skin to its back and secure with a skewer.
With the duck breast facing upwards, lay the duck on a dripping pan.
Stuff the duck cavity with onion, thyme, lemon and garlic.
Set aside and prepare the glaze.
Preheat the oven to 220 deg Celsius.
2 tbsp Maltose syrup (You can find this in Chinese Supermarket)
3 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Worcestershire
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 5 minute.
Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze onto the duck skin. Make sure all parts are glazed.
Put in it the oven and lower the temperature to 180 deg Celsius. Roast it for about 1.5 hr to 2 hrs.
In between every 20 minutes, remove the duck from the oven and baste the glaze and some duck fats onto the skin.
You may need to flip the duck to get crispier skin on both sides.
When it is done, you may use a meat thermometer to insert to the thickest part of the duck to check if it reaches 165 deg Fahrenheit/ 73 deg Celsius.
Remove from the oven and let the duck rest for 10 minutes before serving.
1 tbsp Duck fat
3 shallots, chopped
200g Dried Cherries (You may soak the cherries in the port and drain before use)
300ml Chicken stock
2 tbsp Cherry or Plum Jam
In a saucepan, add duck fat and fry the shallot till it turns transparent.
Add in pot and let it simmer till half of the wine is evaporated.
Add the stock and jam. Let it simmer until it reaches a light syrupy consistency.
Add in the cherries. Simmer for another 5 minutes.