Last week at one of the farmers markets I mentioned to the owner of Twin Post Farm, where I get both chicken and duck eggs, I would like to try a meat duck. She had both Pekin and Khaki Campbell available, the first being around 6lbs, the latter 3lb. I asked for one of each.
I bought the larger one at $4.50/lb ($27) and cooked it on Saturday. Using my River Cottage Meat Book I followed the Roast Duck and Beets recipe, substituting the potatoes and beets with sweet potatoes and buttercup winter squash, which I was able to find local and organicly grown.
|The Duck and the Bible|
Being my first time cooking duck I was a little anxious, but everything worked out fine. As compared to chicken, the duck was far fatter and the skin was tougher. I was used to being able to just pull the meat off the bone, whereas I had to use my knife for most of the duck.
|Rendering Fat, Boiling Vegetables, Making Gravy|
Another thing I've never done is render fat. As per the recipe, I pulled some of the excess fat out of the duck cavity and put it in one of my cast iron pans. After draining most of the fat into a jar, I fried the liver in the remaining. The taste of the cracklings and the liver were spectacular!
|Rendered Duck Fat with Cracklings and Fried Liver|
I have to say that the final product was amazing! The skin could have been a little crispier, but the meat and the fat were juicy and the gravy some of the best I've ever tasted.
I have yet to have a bad meal out of the Meat Book. At times I am tempted to just go through the whole book and try cooking everything.
In the event you want to know what the hounds had for dinner:
|Turkey Head and Feet with Duck Blood|