Sunday, January 1, 2012

Duck a L'Orange

Happy New Year!  Tonight I made duck to celebrate the start of a new year.  This is one of my favourites and was on sale at the local grocery store so it was an easy decision.  I love duck.  It is the dish I always used to order out at fine restaurants but I have found it is quite easy to make at home and soooo much cheaper.

Thaw the duck and place it in a large enough pot to cover with water.  Add a good tsp of sea salt and some pepper - today I used pink peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer, cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes.  I usually turn it about half way through to make sure it is well cooked.  This takes a little work with hot water and a slippery duck.  Don't use tongs because it will tear the skin - I like to use a couple of metal spatulas.  Your other option is to weigh down the duck with a heavy plate but that can get really messy too.  By boiling the duck first, you get rid of a lot of the fat.  After 45 minutes, take it out of the water and let it cool before cutting it up.

I like to make the orange sauce while it is cooling.

In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup OJ, 1/2 cup marmalade and 2 Tbsp of Grand Marnier.  Heat this up til the marmalade melts and it bubbles.  Now you can serve it like this or you can thicken it by mixing 1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch with a little cold water before stirring it into the sauce.  It can be reheated right before serving the duck.

Next step is to preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Yes I said 500 degrees and yes, you will have to clean the oven after this but it is definitely worth the price.  You need to cut the duck in half, then quarters.  This can be pretty daunting if you have never done it before but I'll talk you through it...Start but turning the duck breast side down.  Run your knife along the back bone, gently cutting through the skin and the meat.  Then use kitchens shears (or plain old scissors) and cut on either side of the backbone.  Discard the back bone and turn the duck over.  Again cut through the skin and meat in the middle of the breast.  It is not as difficult to cut through as a chicken so be gentle.  Cut in half...

Now you are going to cut each half in quarters.  If you feel along the half, you can feel a diagonal depression which is the line to follow.  There are almost no bones to cut.  Put each quarter on a rack on a heavy rimmed baking sheet.

Bake at 500 for 20 to 30 minutes to crisp the skin.  It will spit and smoke and if you don't have a good oven like mine - you might want to take the battery out of  the smoke alarm while you are doing this.  Keep your eye on the duck while it is crisping.  You can work on the rest of your meal but stay in the kitchen.  We don't want any fires!

This what it looks like after 20 minutes.  Almost ready...then serve it with a little orange sauce.

Bon appetit and cheers...

Wow the picture taking is a little wonky, isn't it?  And that's before I polished off 3 glasses!

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