Duck FAQ - My Quack Page



My nephew and I fooling around with ducks on Chinese New Year

I received a few frequently-asked questions in the past few months ever since I started blogging a fair bit on ducks. I thought a page to consolidate the queries and responses would be helpful to anyone who have yet to discover how amazing ducks can be, not just for the diner, but even more so for the cook preparing them.

Let me kick off with the most popular question for now, and I will aim to update this page as often as the questions come in.

Qualifier: All suggestions here are based on my own desktop research, personal experiments in the kitchen, and positive feedback from family and friends (read: guinea pigs) who tasted them.

1. How do I cook a whole duck?

It's easier than you think. Here, I describe how to roast a duck in an oven. First, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Prepare the duck by rubbing salt and pepper all over. With a sharp knife, draw criss-cross lines on the skin, slicing through the fat but not the meat. This is called scoring, and it ensures crispy skin (more on this in future). Next, truss the bird to achieve a more even roast. Trussing simply means to tie a culinary string around to keep the wings and legs close to its body before cooking. Click here to see how I trussed a chicken.


You can choose to brush some honey all over the duck before it goes into the oven. The caramelisation will give off a beautiful flavor on the skin. Now, as shown here, place duck on a wire rack with a tray below to collect the duck fats when they melt. Set oven to one hour. After 60 minutes, turn the bird to roast the underside for another hour. Check for doneness in thickest part of thigh. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read about 70 degrees Celsius. And you're done. I did one on a low heat of 150 degress Celsius and gave it 4 hours - see my quack on a rack here.



2. 
What is duck leg confit and how tedious is it to prepare one?


Confit, meaning "to preserve", is one of the most marvellous cooking techniques ever invented. When I experienced the wonders of it, it occurred to me that centuries of French cuisine was suddenly making an impression on me at a very personal level. Preparing a duck leg confit in its full monty is a long and tedious process but yields stunning results of complex flavours.



Let me share the process with you in as simple form as possible. This is what I did.

1. Rub salt all over legs and refrigerate for 24-36 hours
2. Remove marinade and wash legs under running water
3. Place legs into a pot of duck fat, fully covered, along with a marinade (eg, of garlic and thyme)
4. Bring it to a simmer, then cover and transfer to a pre-heated oven for 2-2.5 hours at 140 Celsius.
5. At this point, you can cool it and freeze it, together with the duck fat, for up to 6 months (the longer the more flavorful) or you can pan sear it for crispy skin and serve immediately. Advantage here is you can pre-prepare them for a party way ahead and just pan sear on the actual day.







If you have a question on ducks, post it in the comment column below here. I will research and experiment to get you the answers you seek. 

2 comments:

  1. Oh great! I am a recent duck convert. I never liked duck before and had to come up with answers as to why I don't eat duck (like during dinner parties or other occassions). It's against my religion, is my standard answer. What I want to know is what is so special about duck fat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Religious reason? That's hilarious.

      I have been reading alot about duck fat. I will add your question to the list. The short answer for now is: it is the healthiest animal fat you can find (I will share data) and it adds much flavour to your food. I will also talk about how to get duck fat.

      Duck breast, duck legs,..they are all super yummy!!

      Delete

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