I’ll admit, I was slightly intimidated by the idea of roasting a duck after watching the scene in “Julie & Julia” where Julie attempts one of Julia Child’s duck recipes. And, in the days leading up to today, everyone’s been saying, “Boy, ducks have a lot of fat!”, which means—what? A smoky oven? Overcooked, undercooked, or inedible duck? So I planned for lots of side dishes as a back-up. And I made dessert first thing this morning so we could at least count on chocolate cake, if all else fails.
Luckily, Bill and I didn’t have guests for Thanksgiving so the whole thing was a fun experiment in the kitchen. After sleeping in til 9 a.m. and having a small breakfast, I prepared as many things as I could ahead of time: Bill’s Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Corn-free Chocolate Cake (recipe coming in a future blog post), Cardamom Applesauce from Bon Appetit, and the wild rice for Wild Rice with Butternut Squash and Leeks from Bon Appetit.
The last week or so, I’d been perusing recipes for roast duck and decided upon this one because of its simplicity: Roasted Duck from Allrecipes.com. Of course, I altered it slightly as I cross-referenced other recipes: I quartered an onion and stuck it in the cavity, then trussed the duck (can you believe it after all my whining about trussing in my Roast Chicken post?).
Because our duck was only 3.75 pounds I had to adjust the timing. And, I thought it might be leaner than your average duck because I bought it from a local farm, Grassfield’s, which lets its animals graze on grass, so I made sure not to overcook it.
Like I mentioned in the post about roast chicken, I really love using my Le Creuset Dutch (“French”) oven for roasts because I think it reduces grease spatter, and it has a lid, which is nice for a final steam finish to the meat.
So, in the end….sure, there was some grease in the bottom of the pot, but no smoke! And it was cooked just right–slightly pink and not overdone.
Even the Mew Chef approved:
Here’s our Thanksgiving Day menu:
Saganaki (fried kasseri cheese), substituting brown rice flour for wheat flour
Zardetto Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)
Warm Goat Cheese Salad from Southern Living
Main Course and Sides
Wild Rice with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and (no) Corn (Bill’s allergic to corn)
Caramelized Roasted Parsnips from Martha Stewart
Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Sweet Potatoes (plus some redskins) from Southern Living
Cardamom Applesauce from Bon Appetit
Sebastiani Pinot Noir
Bill’s Chocolate Cake with fresh Michigan raspberries in Champagne (Prosecco) syrup
Dinner was a success in the end. We were happy and full by the time we got through the duck and side dishes. It was two hours later before we could even consider the cake. A fun day all around. I’m thankful for happy food in abundance, my husband, and my health.