Monday, September 21, 2009

How not to roast a duck


There it was - a whole duck for quite a reasonable price. And seeing as I'm a impulsive shopper and had never cooked a duck before, I couldn't pass op the opportunity to load Senor Quack into my shopping cart.




And I must admit I felt quite smug in the few days after the purchase and leading up to the actual roasting of the duck. Because I would be cooking a d.u.c.k. Not everyone cooks ducks you know. Obviously I've reached some sort of culinary enlightenment if I could roast a duck. Right? WRONG. Oh so wrong. Well, perhaps if I didn't screw it up it would have been a bit more of a cooking trophy. As it is, it was more of a catas-trophe.

Okay to be fair, it wasn't all bad. The flavour was pretty good - I followed the instructions on the duck's wrapping which suggested citrusy, gingery flavourings, so I mixed some orange juice with honey and ginger and basted the duck with it. And poured the rest of the marinade around the duck.

Problemo numero uno was my supersmall, and I mean tiny, oven. It really wasn't meant for a whole duck. Duck pieces, perhaps. But a whole duck? That was a bit of a stretch. But nevertheless I didn't let that put me off. It barely fit into the oven together with its pan and covering (another pan - yes I probably should've read the instructions that required some sort of cover, but I didn't and that was the only thing I had at hand).

What the instructions however didn't mention was that I had to shove my hand up the ducks arse and remove its innards. Oy vey. Having never roasted a whole chicken, never mind a duck, I wasn't quite au fait with the whole idea and so assumed that since no mention of it was made on the packaging, it was probably already removed.

And so into the oven my duck went. Baked for 2 hours, covered and then for 30 minutes uncovered. By which time Senor Quack had given off an obscene amount of fat. Seriously, do you know how much fat a duck contains? Which then has the effect of the poor duck ending up swimming in a pool of fat - not an enticing sight. So I decided that the best course of action would be to put the offending duck, together with its gallons of fat, into the fridge and let it stay overnight. And the next day I could then just scoop off the hardened fat. Easy, right?

Easy indeed. But please don't make the mistake of then returning the duck to the oven at full-tilt to heat it up (because you're in a hurry to get to your dance-class). Because Senor Quack will not be able to handle the heat and will end up with a nasty burn. And we do know how ageing those tend to be...

With the burn however, I could deal. With the innards peeking out from beneath their plastic covering (thank heavens for plastic coverings!) as I sliced open the duck I most certainly could not deal.

At that stage you can just do one thing - look at your partner in crime (in my case - TheHusband) and laugh.

PS: We did end up eating the duck (sans innards), which didn't end up tasting bad at all, but boy oh boy was it a mission carving that thing up! For these reasons, I doubt whether I'll be buying a whole duck again. I'll buy duck portions. Like a sane person.

6 comments:

croquecamille on September 22, 2009 7:45 pm said...

Hilarious! Sounds not unlike my first attempt at cooking a duck - they really do give off a crazy amount of fat. Delicious, delicious, duck fat. One of the things I like best about living in France is that you can buy duck pieces in the grocery store. In the US, whole, frozen is the only way I've ever seen a duck sold.

Pikaboe on September 22, 2009 7:53 pm said...

hahaha it's crazy!!!! awh sorry your duck didn't come out as expected, but it is good that you could laugh about it afterwards HAHA. At least you could eat it.

As for the duck guts... OMW... ! I would've probably made the same mistake too...

The Woman on September 22, 2009 10:16 pm said...

Glad to hear I'm not the only duck-retard. :-)

Croquecamille - likewise the only duck I've seen here in South Africa is whole, frozen - and even that is hard to find. Which is why I leapt at the opportunity when it arose... well we all know how THAT ended!

I definitely will try it again if I can find smaller pieces.

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Kathy Gori on September 30, 2009 8:18 pm said...

hysterically fabulous! I myself had a duck misadventure last autumn..different problems but embarassing as I'd invited friends to my duck "experience"

The Woman on October 01, 2009 8:21 am said...

Oh dear! Luckily it was only myself and TheHusband that had to endure Le Quack on this side...

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