duck in the evil oven
When you think of the sterotypically American Thanksgiving, what is always the centerpiece, commanding the attention of the room?
Well, you know what? I’m not that big a fan of turkey. There. I said it.
Sure, it can make for some pretty mean sandwhiches as leftovers, and in soup or potpies it can certainly hold it’s own, but just straight up slices of roast turkey? I’ll have a slice or two of dark meat then be on my way to the mashed potatoes for the rest of the meal, thanks.
On the other hand, of course, I personally find it difficult to imagine Thanksgiving dinner without any bird, and given that I was 50% of the people eating this Thanksgiving dinner, I opted to make a duck instead. Why, you ask? Two reasons.
First, ducks are quite a bit smaller than Turkeys, and thus more appropriate for two to three people than a turkey,
Second, duck is freakin’ delicious.
Those considerations aside, there’s the added benefit of the rendered duck fat, which transitions nicely into the second part of this post – duck fat mashed potatoes.
Methods & Materials
“Extra Crispy” Roast Duck (from The Joy of Cooking)
4.5 to 5 pound whole duck (cleaned)
- preheat oven to 250°F
- rub the entire body cavity and skin of the duck with salt
- taking care to not pierce the actual meat, puncture the skin and fat of the duck in 20-30 places around the body
- place the duck breast side down in a v rack on a roasting pan
- roast for three hours, pricking the skin a few times each hour
- drain the fait, turn the duck breast side up, and increase the oven temperature to 350°F
- roast for another 45 minutes then remove and let stand for 10 minutes then serve
(It’s worth noting that this recipe did not turn out well for me. I don’t know if I messed it up or if the recipe was bad, but I advise caution to anyone wanting to try it, and highly recommend this recipe instead.)
a rather ugly-looking duck
Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes
2.5 pounds peeled and quartered russet potatoes
1 pound small red potatoes, quatered
reserved duck fat
- boil all the potatoes together in a large pot until the russet potatoes are tender (the red potatoes should still be somewhat firm)
- drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl
- add the reserved duck fat, and the cream, buttermilk, butter, salt, and pepper, to taste
- consider setting this aside to serve with dinner
- take a small spoon out of the drawer and taste to ensure it is to your liking
- set aside and think about rest of dinner
- turn back and look longingly at mashed potatoes
- take mashed potatoes and spoon and eat them all while sitting on the couch watching TV, forgetting all about any other plans for dinner you had
potatoes being prepped
potatoes with duckfat, about to be mashed
I’m not entirely sure what went wrong with the duck, but it really didn’t turn out. Most of the fat was still under the skin, and the skin was really soft and squishy. The meat was pretty dry, too. Of course, I still ate it, but it was a mere shadow of what it could have (and should have) been.
The mashed potatoes, however, were entirely delicious and largely made up for the unfortunate duck. They could have used more butter though…