Sunday, June 26, 2011

I hadn't seen duck available here in months - not since Christmas - so when it happened to show up in the supermarket right before my birthday, I grabbed one.

There are a few ways to cook duck, and two of the traditional ones for ensuring crispy skin and as much rendered fat as possible are to confit the legs (and cook the breast separately) or to twice-cook the whole duck, once to render fat and cook the meat through, the second time to crisp it up. Usually with this second method you steam it and then roast it.

What I did was smoke it and then roast it. I let the duck sit unwrapped in the fridge for a day to dry the skin as much as possible, pierced the skin all over with a fork, then rubbed it with chiles, salt, a little coriander, butter, and pecan oil. Pecan oil is expensive, but it's one of my favorite flavors, especially in the summer on salads. Because of the low smoke point and the degradation of flavor when exposed to heat, you don't traditionally cook with it; in this case it wasn't exposed to particularly high heat because of the cooking method.

Smoked duck

After smoking and cooling it, I chopped the duck up into wings, breasts, and leg quarters, and made stock with the carcass and wing tips, and a few onion trimmings. The skin crisped up during reheating - roasting for about 25 minutes in the case of the wings and leg quarters, searing for five minutes for the breasts.

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