Duck and Duck Fat

Discussion in 'The Speakeasy' started by Suzuki, May 25, 2009.

  1. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    Last night, for the first time ever, I made duck at home.

    I am a huge fan of duck, but have had my share of poorly cooked duck at many eateries - often paying a a high price for the pleasure of undercooked/overcooked/flabby-skinned duck.

    So, when I happend upon some nice looking duck quarters at a local grocery store, I said - what the heck, it can't be that difficult.

    I decided to use the technique suggesed in a Chinese cookbook that I like very much, which is to steam the duck on the stove - the recipe I was reading finishes the duck by deep frying it, but I figured I could crisp up the skin nicely under a hot broiler.

    Long story short, $6 of duck quarters (dark meat), 1.5 hours of gentle steaming and 10 minutes under a hot broiler got me and my SO a delicious dinner at a fraction of the price it would have cost at any eatery. The duck came out about as close to perfect as one could expect - moist, flavourful meat, and crispy skin with just the smallest amount of fat underneath (and lets face it, duck is all about the skin baby!).

    The best think is that you steam the duck in a bowl to prevent the fat/juices from running into the steaming water. I drained and reserved the liquid and now have the added bonus of having a small amount of duck sauce and, better yet, duck fat!

    Now I know that duck fat is great for cooking with, but I've never actually used it before, so I'd appreaciate your suggestions (I know potatoes roasted in duck fat are awsome).

    While you're at it, any good duck recipes would also be welcome - so long as the recipe (if properly followed) yields a crisp skin.

    Finally, to those who've heard duck is a pain/difficult to cook - all I can say is it just ain't so!
  2. Scotto

    Scotto Moderator Emeritus

    I always steam the duck first, then butcher it and finish the pieces skin-side down in a 450 degree oven with the pan at the bottom. Works wonders.

    edit: don't forget to use the fat to cook your potatoes. :drool:
  3. You can always peel the skin back, scrape off a substantial amount of the excess fat, and then replace the skin. If you're ever inclined to grill a breast or leg, this will help keep the cooking time down a bit so as not to overcook the meat while waiting for the skin fat to cook away.
  4. That sounds spectacular. The next time I see duck quarters on sale I will be doing that.

    Let's get some more details on the recipe. Spices, herbs, etc? Did you broil skin up or skin down? And did you put a roasting pan or something else beneath it under the broiler to catch the additional delicious fat?
  5. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    Duck lends itself well to red cooking- simmer it in water, rice wine, soy sauce, rock sugar, cinnamon stick, szechuan peppercorns, star anise, fennel seed, clove, garlic, and ginger for about an hour or so. If you want crispy skin (who doesn't?), the steaming/frying method works great. Another method is to dip the duck repeatedly into boiling water to seize the skin. Head over to your nice Chinatown area and buy this
    Cover the duck with it and allow to dry, then roast it.

    And your eggs!
  6. I love duck, but I don't have the patience to cook it properly at home. I usually get it at the local Thai restaurant (Seeda Thai, in Valley Stream, NY), where they do it in several different styles, all of them delectable.
  7. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

    As simple as can be - I rubbed a bit of Hoisin sauce on the duck, put the duck into a heatproof bowl, put the bowl in my steamer, steamed for 1.5 hours or so, removing the accumulated liquid in my steaming bowl with a baster. Once the fat was rendered, I tossed the duck onto a roasting pan, brushed on some more hoisin sauce (skin side up) and into my oven set at broil (450 degrees) and then broiled for about 10 minutes (checking frequently to make sure the skin was not burning).

    The recipe I was sort of following used a marinade of soy, rice wine, green onion and ginger, but I was doing this on the fly and didn't bother with the marinade - but I will use a marinade next time just for kicks, but it would have tasted great if it was steamed plain and then seasoned with some salt, pepper and herbs before roasting.

    Seriously, if you don't mind hanging out and checking on the steaming duck every now and again, this is pretty darn simple. One day I'm going to do a whole duck.

    You get a ton of fat - I did two hind quarters and got about 1/4 cup of rendered fat, plus about 3/4 of a cup some really nice juice that I will use to flavour something - perhaps duck-scented rice or to augment some soup.
  8. dpm802

    dpm802 Contributor

    My freezer is stuffed with duck ... whenever I go to the supermarket and see that they have Maple Leaf Farms products on a "Special Today" sale, I scoop up all they have left. (Special Today is an orange sticker that means it has reached its Sell-By-Date, and it is marked down from 40~70 percent.)

    My favorite is their 7oz Breast Filet with L'Orange sauce ... about $3 on sale.

    I melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan, coat the filets with some poultry rub, put the breasts in skin-side down, and flip it over every 2 minutes or so. I keep it covered in between flips, and after 5 minutes or so, I insert a digital temp-probe to let me know when its thoroughly cooked.

    Its a little bit tricky to get it right, and I still get burnt skin every now and then; still edible but very crispy ... the inside meat is always tender and juicy and never dried out.

    I've always wanted to try one of their whole ducks (about $15 for a 5-pounder,) but haven't gotten around to it. I want to try rotisserie-roasting, but don't have the appliance for it yet.

    You can get Maple Leaf Farms products by mail-order, too. See their website for ordering instructions and printable coupons you can take to your local grocery store.
  9. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

  10. Suzuki, I agree with you. Most places overcharge for duck and rarely cook it properly, most of the time overdone.
  11. Thanks for the extra details. I would like to try that and finish them on my grill, with a little apple or cherry smoke.
  12. ouch

    ouch Moderator Contributor

    I promised my daughter I would take her to The Peking Duck House in Chinatown. I've heard that it's a shadow of its former self, but I used to love it and go all the time. Like teppanyaki, it's a right of passage, and it's hard not to be impressed when they slice the duck tableside.

    If our experiences with fried chicken is any indication, the battle for the crispy skin will be a fight to the death. :lol:
  13. I've never steamed a duck before roasting it. I just pop the store bought duck into the oven and slow roast it at 325 F until the skin looks right. Ducks collected on hunting trips get a different treatment because they don't have as much fat.
  14. Glad to see that you use butter rather than margarine!
  15. That is...disturbing. I can't imagine why they are the only place in the world that still does that.

    The blog is quite fascinating. I will definitely be bookmarking that.
  16. Actually, the French Laundry does it too if I remember correctly.
  17. Ah, I misread the first part. The author claims to have only seen a few presses in his life, and that one was the only one in use. I should amend my statement to say: "I can't imagine why it is so rare."
  18. Suzuki

    Suzuki Moderator Emeritus

  19. For store-bought duck (hard to find around me) I make many small slits in the skin of the whole bird and coat it with salt, pepper, a little fennel, and a sprinkle of paprika. Then rotisserie over the gas grill, catching the rendered fat in a foil pan. Takes about an hour, more or less, and always turns out fantastic.

    Wild duck is a completely different story.

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