Monday, 3 March 2008

The Gospel According to Matthew, Mark, Luke and . . . Duck

When I first entered the industry, I was working at the busiest fine dining restaurant (so they thought) in Canada: the 360 in the CN Tower. It was great. A wonderful learning curve. A few weeks into my employment there I was entrusted with preparing the Duck Confit. It was something new alright. I had never cooked Duck before, let alone 500 portions at once at a fine dining restaurant.

Not the healthiest dish but I soon learned to appreciate the duke of death, I mean duck, when I consumed copious amounts at work. It is extremely fatty and delicious. It is fairly rare to find whole fresh duck ready to be cooked (well, maybe not if you live in Chinatown). Usually it is frozen with giblets roughly 8 to 10 bucks at your major grocer.

The issue I have with duck is that it has a poor yield (usable portion from the beginning to end of the cooking process) and so you usually only get 3 portions from one duck. An odd number so it makes it difficult at times to prevent waste.

One thing to remember: much of the fat will render so you will need a rack to roast the duck on or throw down leftover vegetables in the roasting pan and use the veg as your rack.

Roast Duck with Orange Lavender Glaze

1 Whole Duck, thawed with giblets removed
1 Large Onion, cut into chunks
1 Stalk of Celery, cut roughly
1 Large Carrot, cut roughly
1 Naval Orange, quartered
Dab of Butter
Pinch of Ginger and savory
1 Shallot, finely chopped
Splash of White Wine
500 ml Orange Juice, no pulp preferably
100ml beef broth
20ml Maple Syrup
Handful of Lavender Leaves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Score the top of the duck (the breast side) two "X`s" on each breast. Stuff the duck with veg and oranges. Place into roasting pan and cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a frying pan on medium heat, melt a dab of butter and add shallots, ginger and savory. Cook for 1 minute. Add wine and reduce by half. Add OJ and lavender and reduce by half. Add beef broth and maple syrup and reduce to a glaze. Season at the end on this one.

Remove duck after 1 hour of roasting. Pour half of the glaze and broil for 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 8-10 minutes. Cut off breast and legs and serve with remainder of the glaze.

Serves 3-4.

A Humble Chef's tip: if you have leftovers, cool and use for sandwiches or stir-fries. Brilliant.

Variation: You can add whatever you like on this one. It's very adaptable. I served Pancetta Quinoa and Asparagus with this dish.

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