One Little Ducky

My husband challenged me to make something that was completely new to me, but that would show that I had my technique perfected. I immediately knew it wouldn’t be pasta – LOL! We started talking about what I think I am good at and I decided to go for duck. I happen to think I kick buttooshki with my lemon-rosemary chicken, so this was a good test to see if I was more than the parts of my chicken. Happily, my kids actually really like duck, thanks to my spouse, who is brave enough to venture off the path at Chinese restaurants. I excitedly jumped on the challenge and headed down to the International District (Uwajimaya’s) to get myself a duck. I was so thrilled when I located it, that you would have thought it was Christmas! I had literally just finished reading about duck in a book called Tips Cooks Love from Sur la Table. So I rushed home, removed my duck from the package, rinsed and dried it and set it on a rack and shoved it into my spare fridge to sit for 2 days. The kids made regular trips downstairs to check it out. Sadly, I failed, again, to get many photos. I would likely have done a better job if I hadn’t also been cooking 2 different batches of cookies, a pumpkin side dish and then dealing with the kids who had a half day at school.

Anyway, here is what I did:
Rinse and dry the bird. Place, uncovered, on a wire rack with a pan in the fridge for 2 days, to let the pores expand and allow for rendering of the fat during cooking.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I slathered the duck with softened butter on the breast side only.
I liberally salted and peppered the bird on both sides.
Roast the duck for 2 hours, or until the skin is crispy and the legs pull off easily. I turned my bird at the 1 hour 15 minute mark, to crisp up the underside.
When the duck has cooled for about 20 minutes, begin cutting the meat from the breast. I shredded the meat with 2 forks and added to a large bowl.

Dressing (adapted from Jamie Oliver as I saw it on Jamie at Home)
In a separate, smaller bowl, add the juice of 2 limes and 1 blood orange. Add about 1 T. toasted sesame oil. Add about ½ cup of olive oil and whisk to blend. In a spice grinder add one star anise and a small handful of coriander seeds and blend until mostly powder. Add to the liquids and whisk to blend. On a microplane, grate one clove of garlic and a Thai chili (be sure to keep the seeds on the front side of the plane); add to the liquid and whisk to blend. Chop a handful of cilantro and add to the mixture. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and a grind of black pepper, giving a final whisk to blend. Pour over the duck and toss to coat.

I served this with roasted pumpkin and a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds. I wish I had used the shelled pepitas instead of the seeds we roasted, as the shell got soggy from the dressing, but then was still too fibrous to really make eating it easy. The kids loved this and ate the whole thing! I only have pictures from the very beginning and the very end.

I am now boiling down the carcass for a duck noodle soup. Stay tuned…

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