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Whole Duck

Just picked up your basic duck from Whole Foods. 5 lbs.

Any special recipes, sauces, sides or cooking techniques? It will be for New Years Day.

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  1. I made my first attempt at Peking duck for Christmas dinner this year and this tutorial from Serious Eats was really really helpful: http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/09/th...

    The technique is a great place to start, even if you want to go a completely different direction with the seasoning. Pulling the skin away from the meat so the fat has a place to escape and then scalding the skin to re-firm it was really effective (although my duck started to burn before all of the fat had rendered out).

    1. Thank you so much! I like the idea of the baking powder and then the boiling water rinse. I will try those techniques.

      Not sure how I want to go as far as seasoning - asian, or a fresh cherry/orange something. Sides -sticky rice or risotto or root vegetables roasted or mashed or duck fat fries or a bed or lentils..........

      1. I first found out about the Amazing Five Hour roast duck from this board, and while I've often considered it, Amanda Hesser's recipe from her future mother-in-law is what I make most of the time:


        It is not a great deal of work, requires not a lot of attention, and the resulting broth from the steaming stage is wonderful used to cook rice (as an accompaniment to the dinner). The only change I've made is I put little to no liquid in the roasting pan for the roasting stage. I've found that prevents the skin from crisping.

        1. My first (and only) duck was a fail. I pricked the skin but not enough, and it was a grease pit. However I have read here the 5 hour roast duck recipe is fantastic.

          1. I made the 5 hour roast duck for Christmas dinner and it was fabulous (and easy). I actually took it out after 4 hours and like that degree of tenderness and moistness (cooking longer results in a drier, but more tender bird according to the recipe).

            Good luck!

            1. My pantry includes fresh cherries oranges meyer lemons ginger garlic herbs cheese assorted rices potatoes and dried mushrooms, vinegars, asian sauces and hot sauces and vinegars fish sauce.....

              Just not sure which direction to go in.

              1. I'll be the voice of dissent here and say that I didn't care for the 5-hour duck, or really any other whole roasted duck recipe. I prefer the breast meat cooked medium rare, but the thighs and legs need to be fully cooked to tenderize the tough meat. If I were you, I'd break it down and sear the breasts, then braise (or roast, or confit, whatever) the legs and thighs.

                As for saucing, go with something that complements your sides. I love fruit sauces with duck (sour cherry, raspberry or blackberry - anything tart works well). I recently did one as described above - I braised the legs and thighs in a red wine reduction, and added fresh figs at the end to create a sauce, which went over the seared breasts as well.

                4 Replies
                1. re: biondanonima

                  Yet another reason I need to work on my butchering skills. I have pretty good prep knife skills - who needs a mandoline or food processor? But butchery of raw meat and fish needs some work. I will open the duck tomorrow and consider while I air dry it in the fridge.

                  1. re: Bellachefa

                    No time better to work on those skills now. Once you've broken down a few chickens watch Jacque Pepin's video of boning out a chicken a few times and get to work ;-)

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Jacques Pepin is the master at this! Just by watching him over and over again, I learned what to do. Incidentally, his recipe in "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" is the way I make duck. You render the fat and crisp the skin all in one pot on the stovetop.

                  2. re: biondanonima

                    I break them down as well. Do the breasts med rare with crisp skin and confit the leg/thigh quarters.

                    1. I have had really good luck with the 3 hour duck recipe from the NYTimes. Salt and pepper for seasoning and rotate it about every 1/2 hour as needed to crisp. I put a cut up onion in the cavity the last time.

                      1. I'm leaning towards the poked salted turning a few times air dried, flashed with boiled water method.

                        Leaning towards using some of the rendered fat for roasted potatoes.

                        Leaning towards an assortment of mushrooms, shallots and red wine reduction.

                        Leaning towards using the cherries and orange in an arugala salad as a fresh counterpoint with a bit of goat cheese.

                        1. Rinsed, scored and drying in the fridge on a rack. What to do with neck, liver and gizzards? Right now I have them also drying on the rack with excess fatty skin.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Bellachefa

                            The liver, I would have seared on the spot with some sliced shallots and finished in port and enjoyed while contenplating what to do next.

                            The neck and gizzard would go in the duck stock pot

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Oh, man, that looks so good. Was that just a plain old grocery store duck?

                              2. re: scubadoo97

                                You took the words right outta my mouf, scuba. That is *ex-zackly* what I did with my last ducky.

                              3. re: Bellachefa

                                Excess fatty skin????? There is no such thing.

                                If you mean the flap that dangles over the neck cavity... that thing shrinks to a nice piece of crunchiness during roasting time. It's like freakin' duck cracklin. Please, please, PLEASE! don't throw it out.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  No worries! I rendered the excess fatty skin cut into small pieces and had some cracklings.

                                  Duck was fabulous. I did the flip flip score score ballet and filled the cavity with garlic, thyme, rosemary, onion and orange.

                                  The kitchen staff (my husband) is not only stacking the dishwasher, he is cleaning some bones, even though he couldn't eat another bite! LOL!