As I have said before, Maggie and I are very fond of duck and it is a rare month when we don’t cook a duck meal to enjoy at home. Sometimes, we even share it with friends!
I have met many persons who like to eat duck but never actually cook it for themselves, or not unless it is purchased ready to heat and eat. Duck seems to have some sort of aura that intimidates otherwise competent home-cooks.
To us, the secret is to begin with recipes that make sense, follow them carefully, reflect on the results and keep practising. Walk through that door and a culinary paradise will be yours!
Here is the latest recipe we have added to our list of favourites. Tasty and colourful!
2 premium quality Duck marylands (we bought flavoursome corn-fed duck from Cester’s at Prahran Market)
½ tsp salt
1 cinnamon quill, broken into 4 lengths
1 French (brown) shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
½ stick celery, roughly chopped
½ medium carrot, roughly chopped
½ cup dry red wine, ¼ cup tawny port
150ml chicken stock
2 small sprigs of thyme
- Rub salt into the skin of the duck. Place marylands flesh-side down in a dish and scatter spices around the duck.
- Carefully remove the zest – no pith – of the orange with a potato peeler and reserve. Remove the pith roughly with a sharp knife, then cut the flesh crosswise into six slices. Place orange slices on top of marylands, cover and marinate overnight.
- Heat the wine, port and stock in a saucepan and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes to reduce the volume.
- Remove duck from refrigerator one hour before cooking and discard marinade ingredients. Place a heavy-based non-stick pan over medium heat. When it is quite hot, place the marylands skin-side down in the pan and sear for 5 minutes. Turn and sear the flesh side for 5 minutes. Turn again, remove from heat and, when the pan has cooled, transfer the duck to a plate.
- Heat oven to 160C.
- Return the pan to medium heat, add a splash of olive oil to the pan juices, add the vegetables and fry for 5 minutes to soften them. Transfer the vegetables and the thyme to an oven-proof dish, place the marylands skin-side up on the vegetables, pour in the wine-stock liquid, cover and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until duck is tender.
- Transfer duck to a small baking dish and return to oven for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, strain the vegetables from the liquid, pressing down to extract as much sauce as possible. Use a soupspoon or similar to remove most of the rendered duck fat and oil from the surface of the strained sauce.
- Add the sauce to the pan, add the orange zest, bring to the boil, adjust seasoning and simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Strain to remove the zest. The sauce is ready.
We serve the duck sitting on a bed of herbed brown rice (see Love that duck post and use ½ cup of rice), a side dish of baked carrot and beetroot (instructions below), with the sauce poured over the duck.
Carrot and beetroot parcel
This is a lovely side dish for roast poultry; even roast beef. Make a parcel with foil and line the base with baking paper. Add pieces of peeled carrot and beetroot. Add a splash of white wine, a knob of butter, a glug of olive oil, seasoning and sprigs of thyme. Seal the parcel and bake for about 40 minutes.