5 May 2013

How to love a duck!

As you may remember a couple of weeks ago my darling brought home a duck for my sole delectation and as a result I wrote a post on what to do with duck skin and fat which can be so much yummier than one would expect - see here for more details.

This post concerns what I did with the whole duck and that reminds me of a joke my dear departed Daddy used to say ...

Q.   "What's the difference between a fetish and a perversion?"
A.   "A fetish uses a feather, a perversion the whole chicken."

Sorry, a bit off topic there.  So, what did I do with my whole duck?

Firstly I removed all excess fat and then I cut off his (or her) legs and breasts and this is what I did with all the bits and pieces.

1.   Cook's Treat

I made myself a cook's treat for lunch.  When cooking professionally I used to store all the duck livers I accumulated in the freezer till I had enough to make Duck Liver Pâté, just like the Chicken Liver Pâté recipe here.  As I didn't expect to be starting a collection, however, I made myself a little something.

~   Trim duck livers by removing anything you wouldn't fancy eating ie. stringy and/or greenish bits.
~   Sauté the good bits in a little butter and when turning brown but still a bit squidgy add a spoonful of brandy, a good grind of black pepper and a little salt.
~   Serve on a sippet of toast.


Good additions if you have them are balsamic glaze (as shown), black garlic, red onion marmalade or other sweet condiment.

2.   Render the Fat

Chop it up and heat gently in a small pan till all the fat that can melt has melted.

3.   Roast the Carcass

I roasted the carcass whilst the oven was on doing something else and then added all the fat it produced to that rendered above.

4.   Stock

I covered the roasted carcass with cold water, brought it to the boil together with some veggie detritus, a bit of onion and carrot, and some black peppercorns, covered it and simmered for about an hour. I think a roasted carcass gives a deeper flavour than raw. I set the carcass aside till cool enough to handle and then stripped it of every bit of edible meat.  This is much easier done whilst still warm.  I added the meat scraps to the stock which I cooled and then stored in the fridge.  I'm afraid I then threw the bones away.

5.   Prepare Legs for Confitting

I washed and dried my duck's legs (they did need a shave but I didn't bother) rubbed them generously with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and put them in an airtight plastic container in the fridge for 24 hours.  You can add herbs (thyme is good) and garlic but I didn't as I had a cunning plan.

6.   Eat the Breasts

I  pan seared one of the breasts for my dinner that night. I was a bit stymied at the last minute for a suitable sauce but by adding a bit of this (red onion marmalade), a bit of that (homemade orange marmalade) and a bit of the other (port) I managed to cobble something delicious together. Sorry no picture.  I froze the second breast for another time.

7.   Confit of Duck

The next day I confitted the legs thus ...

~   Brush off all the salt, pepper and other seasoning (see above).
~   Wash as thoroughly as heck under cold running water and then soak in cold water for 10 minutes, changing two or three times because you really don't want this to end up too salty.
~   Whilst soaking the legs bring all your reserved duck fat to a simmer in an ovenproof pan.  If you haven't enough add some goose fat which can be bought at the supermarket. You need enough to cover the legs (ignore my photos below!).
~   Preheat the oven to 275°F/140ºC/120ºC fan/gas 1.
~   Shake the legs dry and add to the simmering fat.  I also adding some coarsely chopped black garlic and more black pepper.
~   Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook for about 2½ hours till utterly tender.
~   Cool to room temperature and then transfer to a clean, dry plastic container and pour over the fat and juices to cover completely.  Chill till needed.


Rumour has it that Confit of Duck will keep for ages; well it doesn't in my house!  Too yummy by far being savoury, tender and unctuous. To serve heat a heavy based frying pan, lift your legs so to speak out of the fat and put skin side down into the hot pan to sear.  Transfer skin side up to an ovenproof dish and finish warming through in a medium hot oven - about 400ºF/200ºC/180C fan/gas 6, the skin should be crisp.  Have ready some cooked potatoes, toss them in the residual duck fat in the frying pan and roast alongside the duck.  Any unused duck should be kept completely covered by the fat till you need it.  Once you have used all the duck reserve the fat that is left over for next time you do some confitting - or roast potatoes in it.


Happily the duck juices and flavourings form a delicious goo under the fat as the confit cools in the fridge so use a spoonful or two of this to make a sauce for the duck. It can be quite salty (depending on your rinsing prowess) so use abstemiously, tasting as you go. I added a little duck stock (see above) and port to the sauce.

8.   Spicy Duck and Cashew Noodle Stir Fry

For this I cheated a bit which, if you are familiar with Sudden Lunch you will know is not typical of me.  I bought some ready cooked Chilli & Coriander Noodles yesterday from M & S.  having procured said noodles I assembled the rest of the stir fry ingredients ...


Then, as you probably can imagine I ...

~   Stir fried the onion, ginger, garlic and carrot till taking colour and softening.
~   Added the green veggies till bright and lovely.
~   Stirred in the duck meat and noodles and tossed all together till hot.
~   I added the cashew nuts and a little fresh coriander.
~   Tasted the concoction and added a little Sweet Chilli Sauce and a dash or two of soy sauce.


This was very delicious!  I didn't use all of the noodles so was able to make ...



9.   Duck Noodle Soup




~   Remove any fat on the surface of the duck stock.  Separate the duck meat from the stock keeping both.
~   Put the stock into a small pan together with some seasonings of your choice, I add a little finely grated ginger and bring to a simmer.
~   Add finely sliced fresh green veg - I used 2 mange tout, a broccoli floret and half an asparagus spear.
~   Simmer all together till tender.
~   Taste and season - a dollop of Sweet Chilli Sauce is good here (speaking of no cheating!).
~   Add a handful of cooked noodles, the duck meat you have set aside and some chopped fresh coriander.
~   Bung it in a bowl.

I went a bit fusion because I do like some crunch with my food - I shredded and crisply fried half a poppadom.

So there you have it; how to have your wicked way with a duck!  I still have one leg and one breast to eat so that will make umm ... 7 meals for lucky me. Yippee!

Incidentally I still didn't use all of the noodles but it's OK, I have plans!





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