Meal Mondays: Five-Hour Roast Duck

The Recipe:
My friend has been trying his hand at raising free-range ducks and chickens, and we were the recipients of his first slaughteree (File that under ‘words I never expected to type.’) It wasn’t the prettiest duck ever roasted, but beauty is as beauty tastes, so…

Recipe from Global Gourmet.

The Ingredients:
1 duck (I don’t know what weight it was, sorry!)
Salt and freshly-ground pepper
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
Handful thyme sprigs

The Method:
1. Begin cooking about 5 hours and 45 minutes before you wish to eat. Preheat oven to 300F and set a rack in the middle level. Remove giblets from duck and pat dry with paper towels, removing any loose chunks of fat from the cavity. Rub the cavity with salt, pepper, and garlic, and lay the sprigs of thyme inside. With a very sharp knife, prick the skin all over, being careful not to pierce the flesh.
2. Place duck breast side up in a roasting pan with a rack (as there will be lots of grease) and begin roasting. Every hour for 4 hours, remove pan from oven, piece skin all over, pour fat out of the pan (reserving for future use!), and turn duck over.
3. After 4 hours, increase oven temperature to 350F, sprinkle duck with salt and pepper, and cook for about 1 hour longer, or until skin is crisp and browned. Let rest for 20 minutes, carve, and serve.
Note: Duck can be served after four hours; it will be juicier but not as tender as the five-hour duck.

The Verdict:
Much better than my rather sad first attempt cooking a duck a year or so back. I only cooked it for four hours and at a slightly higher temperature as I was in a hurry, and I think I pierced it too deeply, so the breast was a little dry, but the dark meat was very juicy and succulent. Mostly I think it’s a case of ‘practice makes perfect’; the recipe is good but I need to get better at cooking it.

Our new cat Domino was also thrilled to receive the mostly-raw neck, which had been left on the bird. Because I’ve been reading about homemade cat food and it put the fear in me about the unnaturalness of dry kibble for a cat.

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