I was a little nervous as I was nearing this episode. I’ve never made duck before and have only consumed it a handful of times. Not only did I have to cook it, I had to quarter it. Lucky for me, I just had my knives sharpened. A word to the wise, don’t attempt to butcher any type of meat without a nice, properly sharpened knife. I’ll take you step by step through the process.
Get your thawed duck on the board. Take out anything you may find in the caboose ie. heart, gizzard, liver, packet of sauce (I don’t recommend sauce found inside ducks).
Now find the spine. Take your kitchen shears and cut up one side
All the way through. As Alton says “It’s like Braveheart, Part II.”
Now we have an opened duck
Because the breast has a lot of subcutaneous fat, we want to give it some exit points. You want to cut into the skin, but not down to the meat. Gently score 3 cuts one way, and 3 going to the other way crossing each other, kind of like tic-tac-toe.
I made a brine just before this with orange juice, pineapple juice, salt, peppercorns, thyme, and smashed garlic. I put it in a Tupperware container and shook it up until the salt dissolved.
While steaming is going on, preheat oven to 475 with a cast iron skillet inside. You want the skillet to be NASA hot! Once steaming has finished add the leg quarters to the skillet skin side down. Put in the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add breasts to pan for an additional 7 minutes. This is going to make the skin nice and crispy.
Once they’ve finished in the oven, put the duck pieces on a plate with a small bowl in the middle. This will keep the duck at the edge of the plate and prevent it from sitting in its own juices. Cover with foil while we work on the chard.
Add in a little balsamic and you’re done!
If you want to get the most out of your duck fat, do this. From the steam water that was left over, turn heat on high. Let water evaporate down until the all that remains is the duck fat. Cube some red potatoes, simmer them in a separate pot of salted water for 10 minutes. Drain and saute in the rendered duck fat until potatoes are nice and crispy. There are no words!
This meal was so decadent. Duck fat (a.k.a liquid gold) in every bite of the meal. I was really surprised how delicious the duck was. It was cooked through perfectly and had a great crispy skin. The Chard had a fresh and bright taste despite being cooked in duck fat. The potatoes were OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD! Verdit=GOOOOOOOD EATS! Definitely give this a try.
Also, a special thanks to my Hubby for taking these pics! ❤
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 pint pineapple orange juice
15 whole black peppercorns
1 bunch fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) frozen Long Island Duck, thawed
2 handfuls shredded chard
2 shallots, minced
Dash sherry or balsamic vinegar
Combine all brine ingredients in a plastic container with a lid. Place the lid on the container and shake to dissolve the salt.
Remove the pop-up thermometer, liver, gizzards, and heart. Cut off the wings.
Using kitchen shears, locate the spine at the base of the neck. Cut up the line of the backbone towards the neck cavity. Turn the duck and cut straight towards the rear cavity. Remove the backbone.
Turn the duck over and cut straight down the middle of the breast bone, leaving 2 equal duck halves. To separate the legs from the breast, flip your halves over so the flesh side is facing up at you. Using a knife, make a crescent shape cut between the leg and the breast. Lay your knife flat against the skin and make 3 marks in one direction and then in the other, making an X. Make sure that you are cutting through the skin and not the meat.
Line the inside of a plastic lexan or a pot with a zip-top bag. Place the duck quarters inside the bag, and pour the brine over the duck. Seal the bag, ensuring that all air is removed from the bag. Brine the duck for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the refrigerator.
Bring 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place a colander into the pot and line the sides of the colander with the duck. Do not stack the duck quarters on each other. Cover and turn the heat to medium low. Steam the duck for 45 minutes. Set oven to 475 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet into the oven.
Remove duck pieces from steamer and place legs, skin side down, into the hot skillet. Place the skillet into the hot oven immediately and cook the leg quarters for 10 minutes. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook for 7 more minutes or until the duck takes on a deep mahogany color and the skin is very crisp.
Remove the duck from the skillet and rest under foil. Add the chard and the shallots to the skillet. Toss the chard in the fat until it barely wilts. Season with the sherry or balsamic vinegar.
Serve the duck with the chard.