There are a few things I can never resist ordering when I see them on a menu. One of those things is duck. It’s amazing to me how many Americans (i) have never had duck (ii) have never thought of having duck (iii) think that all duck is Peking duck. Despite duck not being a traditional Thanksgiving menu item, since this year it’s just me and my folks, we thought of going smaller and “different.” Below is the test-duck I did yesterday.
Notes: (**)This recipe is a slight variation of one developed by Jacques Pepin (who wouldn’t trust a FRENCHMAN on how to cook a duck?!). The differences are (i) he wanted Grand Marnier, which I could not procure (ii) he wanted cider vinegar, which (believe it or not) I could not find when I went to the grocery store and (iii) he did not cook his duck on a rack (which meant that my version requires less total cooking time, but you gotta watch the duck more).
(**)This is not a simple recipe. In particular, the sauce takes quite a bit of time and care (of course). Be prepared to dirty every single pan, spoon, and pot you own. I always said you can tell a French dish by the number of ingredients required and the amount of time required to make the sauce.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE DUCK:
- One duck–gizzards, neck, and other organs removed but set aside
- Salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE DUCK:
- Preheat the oven to 425*F.
- Season the duck liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place the duck in a roasting pan, on a rack. Pour about 1-2 inches of water into the pan.
- After one hour, check on the duck. Flip him, use a turkey baster to remove as much of the fat at the bottom of the pan as possible, and add more water to the bottom of the pan.
- After 30 more minutes, the duck is done. Again, remove excess fat from the bottom of the roasting pan. See below for additional instructions regarding the “sweetness at the bottom of the pan.”
- Keep the duck warm until you serve it–to do that, either put it in a warming tray, or keep in your off-and-cooling oven.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE “L’ORANGE”:
- The organs, neck, etc., from the goose.
- Salt and pepper
- One tablespoon canola oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
- One carrot, chopped coarsely
- One celery stalk, chopped coarsely
- One leek, chopped coarsely
- Half a white onion, chopped coarsely
- One large tomato, de-seeded and chopped coarsely
- One tablespoon tomato paste
- One tablespoon flour
- One orange, plus one for garnish (so…optional second orange)
- 1/4-1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4-1/3 cup orange vinegar
- 1 tablespoon black currant preserves
- 1-2 shots orange-flavored liquor (I used Mandarine Napoleon)
- 1 tablespoon butter
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE “L’ORANGE”:
- Chop the neck, organs, etc., into 1-2 inch pieces. Place them in a pot with the canola oil and brown them.
- When the duck parts are browned, add all the fresh veggies and the garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, flour, chicken stock, and white wine. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for an hour.
- Strain the sauce. Keep the liquid, and throw everything else out.
- When the duck is done roasting, deglaze the pan with this liquid. Specifically, put the roasting pan on your stove, pour the sauce on it, and use it to scrape off the yummy duck-fat bits at the bottom of the pan.
- Strain THIS mixture again. Keep the liquid.
- In a new saucepan, start cooking the sugar and the vinegar.
- When this starts to caramelize, take the juice from an orange (approximately half a cup), and the currant preserves and add them to the pot.
- Next, add the twice-strained, duck-stock mixture. Stir constantly.
- Add the liquor. Also add the tablespoon of butter, but not all at once (i.e., cut it).
- Pour over duck and eat!