What the duck?
October 28, 2007 8:48 AM   Subscribe

How to cook a duck?

We're having a young, free-range duck for dinner tonight – it's thawing in the sink right now – but we haven't a clue what to do with it. Help us avoid a Fawlty-ish disaster.
posted by timeistight to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Alton Brown's crispy duck is excellent.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:51 AM on October 28, 2007

Here's a link to Ina Garten's recipe. Everything I've ever made of hers is incredible, and I watched her make this on her show "Barefoot Contessa." All the reviews are really positive, too. She specifically said that her method keeps it from being overly greasy which duck tends to be, because it is so fatty.
posted by la petite marie at 8:52 AM on October 28, 2007

You can roast duck much as you would a chicken or turkey, but be forewarned that most ducks have a lot of fat and you need to make sure your roasting pan is deep enough to hold it. There are a lot of recipes that call for duck fat, so yo may want to save it.

Here is a recipe
from the pretty reliable Alton Brown (I would link to a Cook's Illustrated recipe that I have used, but it is subscriber-only).
posted by TedW at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2007

Damn; snafu'd by not previewing again!
posted by TedW at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2007

The best way is to stuff it with a small chicken and cook it inside a turkey.
posted by found missing at 9:01 AM on October 28, 2007 [3 favorites]

We've made this "chinatown" duck from Tyler Florence and it was pretty good, if you happen to have chinese five-spice powder on hand.
posted by cabingirl at 9:01 AM on October 28, 2007

Here's a recipe for roast duck:

They don't mention that ducks are very fatty, so you'll want to trim the excess fat off first, or drain the fat off a couple of times while cooking, to avoid an oven fire.

Contra the recipe, I've always run the oven at 350 until it's nearly done, and then raised the temp to 400 for the last ten minutes or so if it's brown enough.

If you want a really lean duck, you can trim off the excess fat, steam it for about 45 minutes, and then roast it for about half an hour, letting it cool between steaming and roasting.

The Alton Brown recipe uses fresh thyme, which is great if you have it, but otherwise, you can baste the duck with just soy sauce (or forgo basting it altogether).
posted by suncoursing at 9:08 AM on October 28, 2007

I love my vertical roaster -- here are the on-line cooking instructions for chicken, goose, duck, etc. Pretty much fool-proof.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:14 AM on October 28, 2007

I'm roasting a couple mallards right now. (Duck hunting season in Minnesota--yay!) They don't have as much fat as the "processed" ducks, but what I do is:

Wash and dry duck(s). Salt inside, squeeze half a lemon in the cavity, and rub outside with lemon and salt. Chop a mixture of 1 apple, half an onion, 1-2 stalks celery. Fill cavity with mixture, the remaining can be put on the bottom of the roaster. (I use a cast-iron enameled pot, but whatever...) Cook uncovered 2 hrs. at 350 degrees. I've also used half an orange in the cavity, but didn't have one on hand this time.

If your duck is fatty, be sure to poke holes in the skin, trying not to poke the meat. It helps drain the fat and make the skin crispy, if you're into that. And I mean several holes, like say 1/2 inch apart. Oh, and I don't eat the stuffing--it's mostly there to take the "gamey" taste from the meat.
posted by wafaa at 9:18 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

And save that duck fat! It's the best cooking fat you've never used before. Potatoes sauteed in duck fat are delish.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

Seconding BitterOldPunk in urging you to save the duck fat. Oh, the transcendent roast potatoes (or, if you have enough, heavenly french fries) you can make. Some of those roast potatoes with slivers of leftover roast duck over bitter greens with a warm vinaigrette made with some of the duck fat is also simply to die for.
posted by mostlymartha at 1:20 PM on October 28, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. We wound up following this recipe from the previous duck roasting AskMe: simple and tasty.

We were careful to save the fat, in which we'll probably cook potatoes later this week.
posted by timeistight at 9:26 AM on October 29, 2007

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