The great duck experiment

We’ve been talking about cooking duck for a while, but it’s one of those meats that neither of us has much experience with. That means that it’s not something we can just do something with and make a tasty meal. Last weekend we were talking about what to make for thanksgiving. We could, of course, do a roast dinner mostly with our eyes shut. Or we could do something that took a bit of time and cooking effort. Steve mentioned getting a duck.

We found lots of links to cooking duck, including a guide to crispy fried duck (with pancakes). We also found a guide to buying duck in the bay area. It sounded like a good idea, so we started seeing who might have fresh duck on short notice. Whole Foods had frozen, but Draegers had fresh.

Tuesday we made a trip to Draegers to purchase duck and Other Stuff. It was a pretty insane shopping trip, but we survived and even found some nice vegetables and sausages.

Tuesday night I pulled out the duck and left it over night, lightly covered with foil in the fridge. We still weren’t quite sure how we were going to cook it, but letting the skin dry seemed like a good idea.

On Wednesday we talked more about what to do and decided we’d try the crispy duck. Step one: loosen skin around the duck. This was a more difficult process than I expected. I thought it was going to be more like a chicken, but in the duck we had (muscovy) the skin was tightly stuck to the meat. We got some of it loose, but managed to rip a couple holes in the skin in the process. Because the skin didn’t stretch that much, we skipped the whole hot-water step.

As a glaze we decided to coat it in hoisin sauce and five spice powder. I then tented it with foil again and put it back into the fridge.

Thursday I pulled the chicken out about an hour before I started cooking. I can’t say it warmed up to room temperature or anything, but it’s habit. I found Tyler Florence’s duck recipe and decided to cook it that way.

45 minutes in a steam bath, then an hour in the oven. We made the glaze and glazed the duck (over the five spice and hoisin).

The initial idea was to eat with pancakes as peking duck, but we messed that up a little. We bought wonton wrappers and those just aren’t the right thing for wrapping.

Backup plan: peanut soba noodles and stir fried garlic green beans with sliced duck breast.

Quite a delicious thanksgiving dinner, even if it’s not what we were planning.

Today we’re going to try Szechuan Peppercorn Pancakes with the leftover duck as peking duck. I didn’t get any pictures of the duck, though. Sorry. Too yummy.

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