The Food Guys for May 01, 2011
11:20 AM - 11:30 AM
Today's Highlight: “Five-Hour Duck”
The Amazing Five Hour Duck
The secrets to this recipe are coaxing the fat out of the duck during its long tenure in the oven and keeping the flesh moist by cooking the bird at a relatively low temperature. The recipe is written for one duck. Feel free to multiply it up to four times if you have two ovens. If cooking two ducks in one oven, adjust two oven racks to divide the oven into thirds, and rotate the position of the ducks every hour.
Ms. Heiferling's original recipe is very straightforward calling only for garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper as seasonings. But you can give your duck a Chinese flavor by putting chopped ginger, garlic, and scallions in the cavity of the bird and brushing the skin during its last hour in the oven with a mixture of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a dollop of honey. The duck turns a beautiful dark brown, almost black, after this saucy treatment. For a Thai accent, chop up a stalk of lemon grass, a handful of cilantro, a little garlic, and put it into the cavity of the duck. Brush during the last hour of roasting with a mix of coconut milk, Thai curry paste (red or green), and a splash of lime juice.
Serve the duck with mashed potatoes and a salad of baby greens.
Accompany with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
1 Pekin (Long Island) duck, completely thawed if frozen
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
A small handful of fresh thyme sprigs
Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a shallow roasting pan or jelly roll pan with heavy duty
foil and set a rack (a cake rack works just fine) in the pan.
Cut off the wing tips of the duck and reserve to make stock later with
the carcass. Remove the giblets from the duck and rinse the duck inside and out with cold tap water. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Pull off
the lumps of fat near the opening of the duck's cavity. Rub the body cavity of the duck with a little salt and pepper, and add the garlic and thyme.
To help the fat melt out of the duck, use a sharp paring knife to make dozens of small slits all over the bird, piercing the skin and fat but being
careful not to cut into the flesh. This is the most important part of the whole recipe. For best results, hold the blade almost parallel to the skin while working (see photo) and make the cuts close together. The tip of the blade should penetrate the fat by about 1/4 inch with each lancing. Give yourself a good 10 minutes for this step and be sure to do this all over the
Put the duck breast side up onto the rack, and put the pan in the oven. After 1 hour, remove the pan from the oven. Grasping the pan, neck, and tail end of the duck firmly with potholders, carefully pour off the fat in the pan. You can shape the overhanging foil to form a spout to make this step a breeze. Save the fat. It is delicious to cook with.
Pierce the duck all over (breast and back) again with the paring knife to make new slits. This step takes much less time now--a minute or so--
because once the duck has begun to cook the skin is firm instead of flabby.
Set the duck on the rack with its back side up, and return the pan to the oven. Continue roasting at 300 degrees for another 3 hours, removing the duck every hour and repeating the above instructions for draining the fat, piercing the duck skin, and turning the duck over. By the end of 4 hours, the duck will have taken on a golden brown color and you will have 2 or more cups of duck fat.
For the fifth and last hour of roasting, after pouring off the fat, increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Prick the duck skin all over again, salt and pepper the outside of the duck, and return the duck to the oven breast side up. Cook until the skin is crisp and browned, 1 hour or a bit less. Remove the duck from the oven and let the duck rest for 20
To serve, use heavy kitchen shears to cut the duck in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into breast/wing and leg/thigh portions.
One duck will serve 4.
©Copyright 2011 by Greg Patent
From favorite seasonal recipes, to the roots of our food traditions, to the politics of food, Jon and Greg illuminate the wonderful world of food each Sunday, in this 10 minute program produced by Montana Public Radio.
Greg Patent won the Pillsbury bakeoff when he was 19 years old. His cookbook, "Baking in America," won the 2003 James Beard Award for best baking book of the year. Jon Jackson is a mystery writer and jazz music expert with a passion for great food. The Food Guys have also been featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.