Ladies and Gentlemen welcome, today we are live blogging a cooking event.
Since I am working tomorrow morning, I consider today to be my Sunday and in honour of the Sunday roast tradition I will be live blogging cooking my Five Hour Roast Duck.
The recipe idea came from The 150 Best Recipes which is a book I can HIGHLY recommend. It is put together by Fran McCullough & Molly Stevens (of All About Braising fame, another book I can recommend highly as well - Hey if it can win a James Beard cookbook award it can cook its little pages off) as a compilation of what they consider to be the best recipes of the past decade culled from cookbooks, magazine, newspapers, fliers, the Internet, top chefs and unknown cooks. I can get right behind that credo since I can tell you that just because someone wrote a cookbook, famous chef or not, doesn't mean the recipes will work, nor does it mean that you will like them.
Already from this book I have culled about 20 must make recipes for either my classes or for us at home. This one was on my list.
And since it is my Sunday, the laundry done, the dog washed, a fire about to be lit in the fireplace, even though it is 50 degrees out, I thought I would live blog my cooking event.
Sit back, hit the refresh button, we're making some kick butt duck.
I picked up my duck at Whole Foods yesterday and unpacked it from the packaging and placed it on a plate in the fridge overnight to better dry the skin. This morning I cut off any major flaps of fat and emptied the giblets and neck pieces.
I've had my lovely sous chef, aka husband, assist with salting and peppering the inside of the cavity.
I have already decided to make the Chinese alternative method for my duck so I chopped 8 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch of scallions and peeled and chopped two good knobs of ginger to stuff inside.
I decided to leave the wing tips attached as they were tucked nicely underneath and carefully I cut dozens of holes in the duck skin on an angle so as not to pierce the meat underneath.
Into the oven it went, breast side up. Up to the bar fridge I went. Now I am going to imbibe this lovely Cassis Lambic in my favourite glass while the timer ticks down the first hour.
I hope to use my giant measuring jug to figure out just how much fat will render out of this duck in the five hours. Shall we take bets now?
**Update: Hour One
This is the colour after an hour of roasting time.
I pour off the fat, not too much for the first hour, after all this is low heat at 300.
Again I pierce the skin several more times and flip it over so that the breast is now on the bottom.
The smell has a faint hint of Chinese restaurant. Back in the oven it went and the timer is set for another hour. I'm back to buy more music off iTunes and finish my beer.
***Update Hour Two
The duck is taking on a nice amber hue, but I am sure the final hour will really bring it home.
Again I remove it from the oven and pour off the fat, still not quite 2 cups.
I prick it full of holes again and flip it back on to it's back, breast side up while the Beagle hopes and prays that I slip and drop the sucker right on the floor.
Quietly I slide the tray back into the oven, the smells are beginning to get more intense. The beer finished, I'm off to have a nice soak in the tub with a LUSH bath bomb for the next 55 minutes until it's flipping time again.
****Update: Hour Three
Ah, nicely showered, hair brushed out (no easy feat) and the timer has beckonned yet again.
Out comes the duck. As you can see the skin is beginning to blister now, most of the fat has rendered with only the occasional pocket here or there still to drain. I poke and prod at these the most with the knife.
The duck still hasn't rendered two cups of fat yet, but i bet it will be there by the end.
I flip it yet again and put it back in the oven for hour number 4. These are the ingredients for the glaze that will be brushed on for hour five. Right now it is equal parts Hoisin sauce, Soy sauce, Sesame oil and honey, but I will taste it in an hour and decide if it needs a bit more soy for saltiness.
And I turn my attention to the carrots that will accompany the duck. Ina Garten had an interesting idea in her new Barefoot Contessa At Home for glazed carrots with ginger, honey and orange. Since this mimics a few of the flavours of the duck I am going to try these. Now husband is a purist when it comes to his carrots, he generally will only eat them mashed with a bit of butter and pepper. I am hoping for the best at the moment. I will also take this moment to add that Ina's recipes are always, ALWAYS faultless. Trust in Ina is my mantra.
Now it's cocktail hour. I'm off to make my version of a Manhattan.
*****Update: Hour Four
The smell in the house is now overwhelming and my stomach is letting me know that it wants some of that duck. Now.
I've pulled it yet again and flipped it for the last time. I glazed it with the mixture I mentioned after I added a bit more soy sauce. I even sprinkled the top of the duck with a bit of salt. Back into the oven it goes for its final hour. I may pull it halfway through and give it another lacquer coat of glaze.
The carrots have been started, butter, minced ginger and water in a saute pan to the boil, add carrots, cover and simmer 5 - 8 minutes.
Back to that Manhattan
See you in an hour.
*****Update: Hour Five - The End
Oh the duck...oh my..the duck. Here is the gorgeous lacquered goodness as it exits the oven and rests on the board.
As you can see by this first slice, this is no dry duck. Five hours and it is gorgeous. It falls apart and my Mom who adores Moo Shi, because it is finger food, would just love this duck with a few pancakes and some plum sauce. The skin is a crispy skin lovers dream. Not, of course, that I know ANYONE who would eat duck skin.
Here are the carrots in their mid stage in the pan. They cooked covered five minutes and then uncovered for about 10 until the liquid evaporated. In went half a cup of orange juice, 1 teaspoon of orange zest and some more salt and lots of pepper. I am happy to report that husband loved these. In fact, he said that it is what made the duck for him. They had many of the same flavours and just enough sweetness to counteract the salty soy and hoisin. My husband is also like Jack Spratt, he cannot eat fat and can dissect a Filet mignon like no ones business to extract every iota of fat, he loved this duck. Everything in the end was rendered away. Two cups total. A pint is a pound the world around they say.
I can highly suggest this treatment if you have a long afternoon and a hankering for duck. the payoff is worth it.
The beagle is now on official cleanup patrol.