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How do I do duck for 8 people?

saltysnack Oct 28, 2009 10:48 AM

I want to make duck for thanksgiving. Preferably whole and roasted. But I need to serve 8 people and all the recipes I have are for 4 servings (one duck).

Anybody have advice on doubling? Can I roast 2 at the same time? In the same roasting pan? Or, should I section them? Any advice or insight would be helpful. Thanks!

  1. BobB Oct 29, 2009 07:22 AM

    My go-to method for serving duck to a crowd is to make confit de canard. You can do a batch of any size all at once (assuming you have a pan large enough and access to sufficient duck or goose fat). It also simplifies things tremendously since you can cook the legs in advance, then just before serving, throw them into a hot oven on a rack over a baking sheet for 15 minutes or so to crisp them up and render off the remaining fat.

    Delicious, impressive, and easy! What's not to love?

    2 Replies
    1. re: BobB
      saltysnack Oct 29, 2009 08:59 AM

      Thanks everybody! Really, really helpful. I will plan to do 3 or 4 ducks. And look at Amanda Hesser and Ina Garten's recipes. Also, quartering or splitting them to all fit in my oven at once is a good call.

      1. re: BobB
        Allan Jenkins Dec 6, 2009 08:56 AM

        Confit de canard is an excellent choice for crowds.

        I also often use Frank Stitt's suggestion (Frank Stitt's Southern Table) of separating the legs and thighs, then taking the breast halves off fhe carcass. The legs and thighs are braised until tender, while the breasts are sauteed briefly just before serving. Thus, each cut of meat enjoys the best cooking method and you also save oven space.

        Naturally, the carcass can be used for stock & there is plenty of fat to harvest. It's a great way to make sure not a bit of duck goes to waste.

      2. Phurstluv Oct 28, 2009 07:25 PM

        Since its a thanksgiving meal, do a duck per person. Definitely poach or braise first then roast up to crisp the skin. Quartering ahead of time of roasting is a good idea, and you can probably do the whole 4 birds at once. As Dallas dude said, leftovers are always desirable, so having leftovers is a blessing. And before roasting, make sure to score the skin to render the fat, otherwise it will be too greasy. Ina Garten has an easy recipe where she poaches it first, and IIRC uses asian flavors llike a Peking duckling. Yum, I love duck, it was my first roast ever!!!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Phurstluv
          DallasDude Oct 28, 2009 07:44 PM

          And left overs make Groucho's favorite meal and my favorite movie of all time: Duck Soup.

          1. re: Phurstluv
            greygarious Oct 28, 2009 08:33 PM

            Surely you don't mean a whole duck per person.

            1. re: greygarious
              Procrastibaker Oct 29, 2009 06:25 AM

              Yes, eight ducks sounds like way, way too much. Just the thought of that amount of duck leftovers is sort of unappetizing. I think with all the sides you can get away easily with three ducks.

              1. re: greygarious
                mcf Oct 29, 2009 07:34 AM

                I think that's excessive, too. But I'd make 4, a half per person, allowing for preferences about quarters.

                1. re: greygarious
                  Phurstluv Oct 29, 2009 10:09 AM

                  Sorry, no I was thinking four people. Do Four Ducks. There - that's better.

              2. n
                normalheightsfoodie Oct 28, 2009 12:27 PM

                We have always had a 1/2 duck per person split down the middle. You can roast them whole and then split them. Be careful not to dry them out and it also helpful to render some of the fat out.

                That sounds like a great meal!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: normalheightsfoodie
                  DallasDude Oct 28, 2009 01:05 PM

                  True on a possible three birds. It would really depend on what else is served with the duck. Duck is extremely rich, and can be upsetting to some if eaten in the same quantity as a chicken. However, leftovers are always desirable.

                2. greygarious Oct 28, 2009 12:00 PM

                  Maybe 3 ducks. I can't put my hands on it at the moment but in Georg Lang's Hungarian cookbook he mentions that the duck is a stupid bird because it's too much for 2 people but not enough for 3. (Or maybe too much for 1, not enough for 2.) The point is that it's got a larger cavity than a chicken of similar external dimension, so the breasts are thinner, and there's not as much leg meat either.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious
                    chefj Oct 28, 2009 12:12 PM

                    The same is said of geese, but either are sooo delicious!

                    1. re: greygarious
                      fourunder Oct 28, 2009 12:14 PM

                      I would agree with greygarious on more than two ducks. I would even consider doing four ducks myself. There really is not that much meat on a 5-6 pound duck. If space is a problem in your oven, you can split the birds flat, two per rack. Search recipes for pressed duck.

                      1. re: greygarious
                        alkapal Dec 7, 2009 06:21 AM

                        the duck is just right for us two!

                        i would make at least three ducks for eight people, and probably four, as noted by fourunder.

                      2. p
                        Procrastibaker Oct 28, 2009 11:56 AM

                        If you can, get ahold of Amanda Hesser's recipe for ginger duck in Cooking for Mr. Latte. Her method for roasting is awesome. It's basically braised then roasted (if I remember correctly, you could adjust not to do ginger if that's not a flavor you want). It is fall-off-the-bone tender, plus you end up with a quart or so of fabulous stock. You could braise ahead of time and roast day-of which would make things really easy. Unless you have a good plan for roasting, it's really, really easy for duck to be tough. That's why often people pan sear duck breasts and then confit the legs.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Procrastibaker
                          janniecooks Oct 29, 2009 03:52 AM

                          Hearty second for Amanda Hesser's ginger duck. It's wonderful and the resulting stock is so useful and tasty. I don't cook duck often but when I do I turn to Hesser's recipe (which IIRC is actually Mr. Latte's mother's recipe).

                        2. chefj Oct 28, 2009 11:43 AM

                          You can definitely do 2 at a time. Just make sure that they are not touching each other and you may want to plan on a slightly longer cooking time. Initially the increased quantity will drop your oven temperature more.

                          1. DallasDude Oct 28, 2009 11:42 AM

                            8 people 2 ducks. Would you share a chicken for 8 people? Same parts.

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