A perfect duck recipe.
I am afraid I have bored you enough with broadcasts of guidelines and recommendations from various authorities.
May I offer you something different this time, please? This is my story of a perfect duck.
Duck is a precarious dish. One either makes it dry and overdone or leave it underdone, embarrassingly bleeding in front of the guests. Eventually, most of the people leave the duck out of their repertoire for entertaining the guests. Quiet undeservingly though, I must say.
Anyone (!) can cook a succulent, fragrant, awesomely good looking duck. It is easier than you think. This is my very own recipe I worked out after 20 years of trying. I have tried over 50 recipes for a duck in my lifetime, including from the chef of the famous restaurant Pod Vezi in Prague. I even boiled this poor bird in acidic German riesling before roasting. Once, I just chucked the bird in the oven to see what will happen….. (That act of desperation did not end well).
The triumph did come, eventually. Even my wife said that this is the best duck she had in her life. (Gentlemen, you know what it takes to receive a compliment from your wife after 25 years of marriage… The duck must have been really good.)
My wife spotted the Luv-a-duck special at the supermarket another day. This is the perfect opportunity for a family feast.
- 2 – 2.2 kg standard duck
- Sea salt
- Half a glass of dry white wine
- One orange, prunes, an apple
- A bottle of Apple Cider
- Anise Star
- 1 Tablespoon of Maple syrup
- Bunch of parsley and mint to decorate
- Assorted fruit – mango, rockmelon, grapes.
Cost of the whole meal for 4 persons: approx $28 + $17 for wine.
Step by step.
1. Duck is washed and dried and placed in the dish for cooking a duck almost covered with water.
2. Add 3 teaspoons of sea salt to the water. One of the spoons of salt goes inside the duck. Add half a glass of any dry white wine to the water and a few pieces of peeled orange. Leave for a few hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 190 C. Get the water out of the dish. Put pieces of apples and a few prunes inside the duck along with one piece of anise star.
4. Important! Place the duck on a few whole carrots at the bottom of the dish. This is to allow the space for juices to collect below the level of carrots without touching the duck.
The duck must be placed breast down (important – that will produce the most succulent duck breast).
5. Pour a 3/4 of the bottle of apple cider in the dish. (What do we do with the remaining 1/4 of the bottle……hmm..?)
6. Close the lid and bake for exactly 1 hour.
7. Prepare the glaze. Juice of another half of the orange is mixed with honey or, even better, maple syrup in 1 to 1 proportion. Don’t worry. That will not make your duck sweet. The glaze is for the looks only.
8. Take the dish out and take the lid off. Brush the duck with the glaze and place it back in the oven for another 15 – 25 min without the lid. The purpose of this is to get it to look appetising.
9. Take the dish out. Turn the duck breast up using BBQ utensils, brush with the remaining glaze and place the dish back in the oven for another 15 – 25 min without the lid.
10. Take the duck out and place it on the serving dish that can be decorated with pieces of orange, parsley and mint. ( I didn’t do it this time as it was a simple dinner for a small family of four)
A word about optional extras: I do not use garlic in duck dishes as, in my view, that removes the ‘game’ out of the dish.
Apples can be added to the baking dish along with carrots. That gives a slightly different flavour to the dish.
The hard bit is done.
How do I serve the duck? Most restaurants will serve the duck with roast potatoes or couscous or polenta or beetroot mush.
My way to serve the duck is with fresh fruit – pieces of mango, rockmelon and grapes. Decent Pinot Noir (under $20 at Dan Murphy, e.g. Le Chat Noir ) comes along with this very well.