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Have Duck!! What in hell do I do with it???

caiatransplant Jan 20, 2013 06:43 PM

Hi Y'all. I came across a duck in the freezer section of WalMart the other day, and for a reason known only to someone else, I bought it. I've been cooking all my life (pushing 70) and, yes, I could poke it full of holes, season it and roast it, but am looking for something really food and, perhaps, a bit different. I am married to a midwesterner who sees duck as something that flies. Any help out there??


  1. t
    taryn31 Jan 24, 2013 10:22 AM

    My husband is a hunter and brings home wild duck. There is hardly any fat on them. I take the breasts and pound them thin, a light flour dusting and fry. Top with a mushroom gravy. A delicious Jagerschnitzel!

    1. a
      AdinaA Jan 24, 2013 09:51 AM

      Now is the moment to treat yourself to cassoulet.

      1. h
        hawkeyeui93 Jan 24, 2013 08:52 AM

        I like that it has inspired you to step out ... Do let us know what you chose, how it turned out, and if your Midwestern Hubby enjoyed it.

        1. DoobieWah Jan 24, 2013 08:14 AM

          The last time I picked up a duck, I roasted it for the fat, (yummy, yummy fat), and then shredded the meat, made stock with the carcass and used the meat in an Indian tikka masala.

          I've also made tacos, enchiladas, and gumbo...

          but I'm really after the fat!

          1. j
            janniecooks Jan 24, 2013 08:05 AM

            Here's another recipe you might consider. I first discovered Ginger Duck from Amanda Hesser's Food Diary column in the NYT magazine. The duck is simmered on day one, then roasted on day two. The duck is is excellent and easy. I add some five-spice powder and use smashed fresh ginger in place of the ground ginger for a more assertively chinese flavor. I also don't include as much liquid when roasting on the second day, because I found that prevented the skin from crisping. And the duck broth from simmering on the first day makes a wonderful base for steaming rice as an accompaniment. Here's the link:


            1. herby Jan 21, 2013 02:25 PM

              Five-hour roasted duck - delicious! Here is one version: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...
              You'll find other versions if you google. Enjoy and report back with what you made and how'd you like it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: herby
                Wahooty Jan 22, 2013 05:01 PM

                This is my recommendation too. I know you said you wanted something more adventurous, but if you've never cooked duck before, this is a perfect way to start. And a simple roasted duck really doesn't need to be improved upon.

                One thing to clear up, no matter how you plan to cook it: is your duck brined? I know where I happen to live right now, the only frozen ducks in the supermarket are brined (the same way all of my frozen chicken and fresh pork seems to be). If so, thaw it at least a day ahead of time so it can sit in the fridge and drain/dry out. It's hard to get the skin on those suckers to crisp up, even with this step, but it helps.

              2. biggreenmatt Jan 21, 2013 01:55 PM

                Making prosciutto out of duck breast is simple, delicious and one of the absolute easiest ways to enter the world of home charcuterie.

                Cover the bottom of a flat bowl with kosher salt. Lay the breasts flat (skin on) and cover entirely with more salt. Bung it into the fridge for a day. Wipe off salt, rinse and then pat dry. Lightly coat with white pepper (or whatever!), wrap loosely in cheesecloth and hang unrefrigerated for a week.

                Once the breasts are firm, take it down, slice razor-thin and enjoy beautiful homemade charcuterie!

                2 Replies
                1. re: biggreenmatt
                  Puffin3 Jan 22, 2013 06:00 AM

                  That looks pretty easy. Could I do that with one of those really cheap big bone in pork rumps?

                  1. re: Puffin3
                    biggreenmatt Jan 22, 2013 08:09 AM

                    In theory, you can dry-cure anything.

                    The nice thing about duck breast is that it's a relatively quick cure & dry process. In a week, week-and-a-half, not much can go wrong.

                    Parma hams, for example, take months, if not over a year. Lots and lots and lots can go wrong. Tons.

                    Given the safety issues involved with long cures, consult a charcuterie text before dipping your toe into these particular porky waters.

                2. EM23 Jan 21, 2013 12:24 PM

                  Martha Stewart recently covered duck breast on her Cooking School. http://www.marthastewart.com/958611/p...

                  1. zuriga1 Jan 21, 2013 05:01 AM

                    Duck is a very common meal here in the UK. Look for some recipes using Google.... the BBC food website has lots of choices and other things will come up, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: zuriga1
                      Puffin3 Jan 21, 2013 06:41 AM

                      I'd thaw it then very slowly poach it at no higher than 200 F. until the bird is cooked to whatever temp you want. I'd go for about 160 F. No veg no herbs no salt for sure. Just the duck. You can add all sorts of flavors and ingredients when making dishes from the poached bird later. You'll end up being able to get pretty much every gram of meat off the carcass which can be a challenge when birds are roasted etc. If you stick the pot in the fridge over night all that wonderful duck fat will be sitting on the surface so you can lift it off and save for frying potatoes in etc. The broth will be nice and clear. Strain it if needed. It won't if you haven't boiled the water. Then reduce VERY slowly like for a day to about half volume. No rolling bubbles. Then you'll have an intensely flavored duck broth too!
                      Actually I'm not being truthful here. I'd 'SV' it but I'm not sure you'd want to 'go there'. If you do which I recommend everyone does, check out this site: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/13627...

                    2. klyeoh Jan 21, 2013 04:54 AM

                      I liked the slow-roasted duck from "The Joy of Cooking"

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: klyeoh
                        zuriga1 Jan 21, 2013 05:00 AM

                        That was the cookbook my mother used. I probably should have kept it!

                        1. re: zuriga1
                          klyeoh Jan 21, 2013 06:39 AM

                          What happened to the cookbook, zuriga1?

                      2. g
                        Grunde Jan 21, 2013 01:15 AM

                        Two words: Confit!
                        But for that you probably need to buy another one.

                        Like Scubadoo97 I like to cut out the breasts and cook them seperately. Fry'em like a steak, but make sure to cut groves on the fatty side so they crisp up nicely.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Grunde
                          Terrie H. Jan 21, 2013 02:00 PM

                          This is what I have done -- take the breasts off and make them a special meal, and then use the rest for something else. I've always done duck rillettes, but I've seen Sara Moulton do a confit in one of those cooking bags on her show and think I'll try it next time.


                          1. re: Grunde
                            chefj Jan 22, 2013 04:50 PM

                            You will need another Word (-;

                          2. j
                            janniecooks Jan 21, 2013 12:54 AM

                            Here's a not-too-old thread in which the poster discovered frozen duck also and posed a similar question. Perhaps some of the replies here might be of interest?


                            1. t
                              tardigrade Jan 20, 2013 09:13 PM

                              It's like asking, how do I cook chicken?

                              One caveat: duck is very fatty. I was afraid of it for years until I got a roasting pan with a rack - this lets the fat drain off while the bird cooks.

                              I roast the bird plain, then usually make a fruit-based sauce for the first meal. The last bird ended up as roast duck legs, duck breast and mushroom casserole, duck tacos, and duck stock from the carcase that ended up in tortellini with brodo, duck noodle soup with cabbage and sliced duck bits, and duck risotto. I still have the neck and gizzards frozen for future use.

                              I find the duck fat rather strong: I fried some onions in it recently for another dish, and the duck taste came across rather assertively. Some people really like it, though.

                              1. law_doc89 Jan 20, 2013 07:58 PM

                                If you have a rotisserie spit, baste it with cocoanut milk and curry spice for an hour after simmering it in water to leach the fat and make duck stock.

                                1. a
                                  ahuva Jan 20, 2013 07:37 PM

                                  oh my gosh - the possibilities are endless - duck two ways, with pan sauteed duck breasts and roasted legs, or duck confit, or crispy skin roasted duck. you can also take cooked duck, seal it in wontons and deep fry or cook in the duck broth - the possiblities are endless. enjoy!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ahuva
                                    melpy Jan 21, 2013 04:14 AM

                                    Epicurious has a great duck two ways recipe. I made it last fall and it was to die for!

                                  2. scubadoo97 Jan 20, 2013 07:25 PM

                                    I like to cook the breast seperately since I enjoy them med/rare

                                    1. j
                                      Joeneoj Jan 20, 2013 07:06 PM

                                      I have made this sauce before:


                                      or if you are going for a more unique I have made Weber Grills' duck breast tacos

                                      Duck Breast Tacos
                                      with Sour Orange-Onion Salsa
                                      Recipe from Weber’s Way to Grill™ by Jamie Purviance

                                      Serves: 4 to 6
                                      Prep time: 30 minutes

                                      Way to grill: direct medium heat (350° to 450°F
                                      )Grilling time: about 9 minutes

                                      4 boneless duck breast halves, 4 to 6 ounces each
                                      2 tablespoons kosher salt
                                      2 tablespoons granulated sugar

                                      2 cups thinly sliced red onion
                                      1/2 cup fresh orange juice
                                      1/4 cup fresh lime juice
                                      1/4 cup finely chopped poblano chile pepper
                                      1 tablespoon granulated sugar
                                      1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
                                      1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

                                      Extra-virgin olive oil

                                      16 corn tortillas (7 inches)
                                      1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled and sliced
                                      1/2 cup thinly sliced red radish
                                      1-1/2 cups finely sliced napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)

                                      1. Using a small, sharp knife, remove and discard the thick
                                      layer of fat and skin from the duck breasts.

                                      2. In a large bowl mix the salt and sugar, and then add the
                                      breasts and turn to coat them. Let the breasts stand at room
                                      temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling, turning the
                                      breasts over once or twice.

                                      3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the
                                      onion, orange and lime juices, chile, sugar, and salt. Cook
                                      until most of the liquid evaporates, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid any burning. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

                                      4. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

                                      5. Pat the breasts dry and generously coat them on both sides with oil.

                                      6. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the breasts over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until lightly browned on each side and still rosy pink in the center, about 8 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a cutting board and, while the duck rests, grill the tortillas.

                                      7. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the tortillas over direct medium heat for about 10 seconds on each side. Stack the grilled, hot tortillas and wrap them in a thick kitchen towel (or put them in an insulated tortilla server).

                                      8. Thinly slice the duck and serve with the warm tortillas, salsa, avocado, radish, and cabbage.

                                      1. mrsfury Jan 20, 2013 06:55 PM

                                        Whatever you do with it, save the fat to make fries. I don't have a recipe for duck but I'm sure many on this board do have fabulous advice for you.

                                        1. 5
                                          51rich Jan 20, 2013 06:46 PM

                                          not much of a cook myself,so i would recommend other cooking sites food 52, or saveur,food network, good luck and enjoy

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