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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Duck, Duck, Goose...

One of my "to do"s this week was to cook that duck I received as a part of my Wholearth CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) "meat share."

Wholearth and other CSAs sell "shares" which entitle the buyer to an allotment of the farm's annual harvest. It is small-scale, community-oriented, local farming versus the ubiquitous agribusinesses which produce most of the fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy most of us consume. While I don't want to wade into food politics here, I would be remiss if I did not mention this as a hot button issue for many. My CSA experience has brought me closer to the food I eat. I have a greater awareness of where it comes from and the people who grow/raise it. Politics aside, I have noticed a discernable difference in the flavour of our meats - they tend to be absolutely tender and juicy. (My husband who is our family skeptic would even attest to this... :) )

Anyway, back to that duck in the freezer. We never grew up on duck at home. My dad does not like it and therefore, my mom never cooked it. But eating duck in a Chinese restaurant is certainly a spectacle to be experienced. Imagine a deeply lacquered bird presented to your table. A skilled server carefully lifting away the shatteringly crisp skin and cuts it into portions for the table, then he dissects the moist and flavourful meat into bite-sized pieces. However, making this dish (popularly known as Peking Duck) as Heston Blumenthal can attest to, is one cumbersome task. (Heston Blumenthal documented the arduous journey for the best Peking Duck in his television show, In Search of Perfection.)

I like duck but not enough to go through that hassle.

However, some research on the internet bolstered my confidence that duck could be prepared easily and quite deliciously. As easy as roast chicken. With my new found knowledge in hand, I set out to make a darn good roasted duck.

We ate this gorgeous beast in a cheater's version of Peking duck. I removed the meat from the carcass and served it with traditional accompaniments: Hoisin dipping sauce (recipe below) and lots of fresh, juicy cucumber. We skipped out on the pancakes (too tired to make and too lazy to buy) and green onions. Perhaps next time...

This recipe produces a duck that is moist, richly flavourful but not greasy. We gobbled up the skin like children eating candy and the rest of the duck disappeared shortly thereafter. We saved the bones for stock and some of the fat for frying eggs for breakfast the next day. (In addition, I have used duck fat to roast potatoes and they are marvelous.)

Roasted Duck with Hoisin Dipping Sauce

3-4 lb duck
1 tbsp minced ginger
salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash duck thorough and pat dry.
2. Sprinkle salt & pepper over duck's skin and inside the cavity.
3. Rub ginger inside the cavity. Truss duck and place in large roasting pan.
4. Roast duck for at least two hours. Basting occasionally.
5. Turn oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to roast for another 30 minutes.
6. The duck is ready when the skin is browned and crisp and the legs appear very loose. (Legs should come off very easily by the time you serve.)
7. Allow duck to cool for at least 15 minutes (or cool enough to handle)

At this point, you can serve the duck by cutting it into quarters and serving or pull off the bones and serve with this silky Hoisin dipping sauce and lots of cucumber spears.

Hoisin Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp Hoisin
1 tbsp lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
1 pinch of chili flakes
1 tsp honey

1. Mix together and serve with roasted duck. (Also is great as a marinade for chicken or fish.)

1 comment:

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

I love the idea of CSAs but I happen to be really picky, and wouldn't know what to do with half the veggies that I would get.

Now a meat related CSA I could probably get behind.

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