Duck is canard in French, and when you buy it in the store, it looks like this.
In the States, duck is less common and is usually found in the freezer section of the grocery store – and it’s usually whole. Still, I thought it was time for a lesson in preparing duck, because once you open the package, you can wonder what the heck to do with all that duck fat.
Answer? You score it.
Cut in a criss-cross pattern right through to the meat, but leave the meat intact.
Now we can get down to business. Put some butter in a large skillet – just enough so that the duck doesn’t stick before its own fat melts. (I am so sorry there’s no nicer way to say it).
But since we’re talking about fat (in for a penny, in for a pound) I should add here that duck fat does not harm your cholesterol like beef does. So though it may add to your hips, it won’t add to your heart.
Which is heartening. *cough*
Moving right along. Salt and pepper those bad boys and cook for about ten minutes or so.
You’ll notice an increase in the grease in the pan as the duck fat melts (don’t worry – you’ll be getting rid of most of it). When you turn it over, make sure to use a spatula and a fork so that it doesn’t flip over and splat in the grease, giving you burns on your hands. Not that I have any experience with this or anything.
Cook for another five minutes, then remove to a plate.
Remove most of the grease – you can see what I mean in the picture below, but I have to say that it would have tasted better had I left a tad bit more grease for the sauce. Just can’t get around those
soulappetite-sucking words like grease and fat, can I?
Alright next. You need the zest of an orange. Put that, plus a half-litre of orange juice (2 1/4 cups) into the leftover grease (heretofore called sauce) and boil it down. It might take about 15 minutes to reduce it, but keep an eye on it, and keep stirring.
Meanwhile, cut the duck in slices, like so.
This is too pink – the dish will go in the oven for fifteen minutes so that it gets properly cooked – but I want to mention that (unlike pork or chicken) duck should be slightly pink inside so the meat doesn’t get tough. It should be treated more like beef than other poultry.
Slice an orange, and then halve the slices. You’ll want to place those over the duck.
Back to the sauce. When it starts to thicken, add about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard and a tablespoon plus a teaspoon of sugar. Let that bubble for just a minute, stirring constantly.
Pour the reduced sauce over the duck slices, and put it into the oven for fifteen minutes so the sauce can lacquer.
And that’s it!
Serve with rice, and wow your guests because you can be sure they’ve tasted nothing like it.
Except, perhaps, in a Chinese restaurant. They might have tasted it there … So I, uh, suppose you could just go ahead and get takeout, and call it a day.
🙂 Okay, confession time. How many of you are really likely to attempt this? I’m curious. Also, have you ever tasted duck apart from Chinese restaurants?
- 4 duck breasts
- 2 oranges
- ½ litre orange juice
- 2 t Dijon mustard
- 2 T plus 1 t sugar
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200°C or 375°F
- Score the duck fat in a criss-cross pattern without touching the meat.
- Cook fat-side first in pan for 10 mn (and sprinkle salt and pepper).
- Flip, and cook on other side for 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Remove most of grease (put in closed container and throw in garbage - not down sink).
- Take zest of orange and orange juice and cook until it reduces.
- Slice duck, and slice orange to put on top.
- When sauce is reduced, add sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.
- Pour over duck and put in oven for 15 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice.
Recipe largely based on (translated from) this site.