Duck is a delicious restaurant meal. Whenever I see it on the menu, I always order it, thinking that it's something I'd never cook myself.
However, I was in Woolworths in Katanning a while ago when I happened to notice they stocked frozen duck. These are farmed ducks and free range. So I bought one and put it in my freezer where it's been mocking me ever since.
I had planned to cook it for Steve's birthday on Monday night, but I 'chickened' out. Now it was in the fridge mocking me. Yesterday I put it in a little brine bath, something I always do with chicken and today, finally cooked it. It was strange looking with a really long neck and of course, longer wings than a chook.
Googling 'how to cook a roast duck', I came across an excellent website that had loads of hints and tips. Things like, never stuff the cavity of a whole duck. This prevents hot air entering the cavity and cooking from the inside out. You can, however place herbs, orange zest and seasonings inside the cavity to add to the flavour when cooking. (I didn't bother)
After removing from the brine, I rinsed the excess salty water from the bird and dried it as instructed. The duck was then placed on a rack in a baking dish and sprinkled with more salt before placing in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees C. My size 18 duck cooked for 2 hours.
It released a lot of fat, which is good, because duck fat makes for deliciously brown and crunchy roast potatoes! Once removed from the oven, I turned it breast side down so all the juices could run into the breast.
The fat and juices are setting in the fridge and tonight I'll roast some spuds in the duck fat and make gravy with the juices that have set at the bottom of the fat. The plan is to serve it with sautéed carrot sticks with steamed broccoli and snow peas.
Cooking it earlier in the day has some benefits in that I have a chance to cook something else in case it's inedible as well as being able to separate out fat and juices. Duck reheats well according to the website I checked.
There's not much meat on a size 18 duck, so I'm glad I didn't ask anyone to tea!
I'm now roasting the bones to make a brown stock. I think I'll try duck again soon!