Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Amazing Five-Hour Duck

This was just ridiculously good.
From The 150 Best American Recipes: Indispensable Dishes from Legendary Chefs
and Undiscovered Cooks
by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens
(Reprinted in Cook's Illustrated)

1 Pekin (Long Island) duck, wing tips cut off (not necessary, but more elegant)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 small handful of thyme sprigs

"Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and set a rack in the middle level.

Remove the giblets from the duck; save the giblets and wing tips for stock, if you like. Dry the duck well with paper towels. Remove any loose globs of yellow fat from the two cavities. Rub the large cavity with salt and pepper and the garlic and put the thyme in it. With a small sharp paring knife, make dozens of slits all over the duck, piercing the skin and fat but being careful not to pierce the flesh. The easiest way to do this is to insert the knife on the diagonal, not straight in.

Put the duck breast side up on a rack (a cake cooling rack is fine) set on a jelly-roll pan and put it in the oven. Every hour for 4 hours, take the pan out of the oven, pierce the duck all over with the knife, and turn it over. Each time, pour off the fat in the pan.

After 4 hours, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees (see note). Sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper and cook for about 1 hour longer, or until the skin is crisp and browned. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.

Mindy Heiferling suggests taking the duck in a couple of Asian directions. For a Chinese duck, put peeled, chopped fresh ginger, scallions, and garlic in the cavity and brush the duck during the last hour of cooking with a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and a little honey. For a Thai duck, put chopped fresh lemongrass, fresh cilantro, and garlic in the cavity and brush during the last hour with a mix of Thai curry paste, unsweetened coconut milk, and lime juice."

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