Sunday, October 7, 2012

Roast Duck - The Series (Crispy Skin Roast Duck with New Potatoes and Brussel Sprouts)

I picked up a young duckling from the frozen meats section at 99 Ranch.  Yes, that's right.  Roast duck.  It's an entire series.  It's so much more than just roast duck.  I rendered and saved the duck fat.  Duck fat brussel sprouts and new potatoes.  Duck stock.  Duck spring rolls.  I got my money's worth out of that one bird.  The skin was crispy.  The meat was juicy and succulent.  I was glad I didn't over complicate the seasoning.  The flavor of the duck really stood on its own.
Crispy Skin Roast Duck w/ brussel sprouts and assorted new potatoes

First, let's start with the duck itself.  I bought a 19" roasting pan and was excited to use it.  Unfortunately, it was too big for my freakishly small oven.  So I positioned the roasting rack on top of a baking sheet instead.

Crispy Skin Roast Duck with new potatoes and brussel sprouts
1 1/2 lb whole duck 
*new potatoes
*brussel sprouts (about the diameter of a quarter or cut in half if larger)

After I tore off the plastic packing that the duck came in, I discovered that I literally had a whole duck.  
With the feet and head still attached.
For those who feel uncomfortable with the fact that the animals we eat once came with a head, I'll spare you the pictures of the dismemberment and beheading.
I clumsily cut off the wing tips, feet, neck and head.  I saved them for the duck stock, which I'll get to in another installment of "Roast Duck - The Series." I also set aside the liver, heart and kidneys that were inside the cavity of the duck.  I later sauteed the offal with some salt, pepper, shallots, duck fat and balsamic vinegar for a little snack while the duck was roasting.
I scrubbed the duck all over with salt and rinsed it all off.  I then thoroughly dried off the duck with paper towels.  I preheated the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.  Like I said, my oven is freakishly tiny.  So if you have a normal sized oven, preheat to 325 Fahrenheit.
Part 1 of the secret to getting crispy skin and juicy meat is to carefully make little slits all over the skin of the duck without piercing the flesh.
Since I was going to render the duck fat, I simply seasoned the duck by sprinkling salt and pepper inside the cavity of the duck.  With butcher's twine, I tied the legs together and the wings close to the body.
I popped the duck into my tiny, preheated oven.  Part 2 of the secret to crispy skin and juicy, succulent meat is to roast the bird in low temperatures for 3 1/2 hours, flipping the bird over every 20 minutes.
Like I said, I was rendering the duck fat and roasting the bird in a baking sheet.  Every time I took the bird out of the oven to flip it over, I also used a baster to remove the duck fat and strain into a ceramic bowl.
*With 1 hour of roasting time left, I threw some new potatoes into the baking sheet underneath the roasting rack and rolled them around to cover them with the drippings.  I rolled them around some more each time I flipped the duck over.
*With 40 minutes of roasting time left, I threw the brussel sprouts in with the potatoes.  I turned them over during the final duck flip.
Part 3 of the secret is to let the bird rest 15 minutes before carving.

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