I don’t remember when I first tried duck, but I think it was at a Chinese restaurant and it was their interpretation on Peking duck. I’ve liked the bird ever since, but it wasn’t until my first visit to Paris that I fell helplessly in love it.
Parisians certainly have a love affair with this winged creature. Heck, maybe all of France does, but I know for sure it rules in Paris. I can’t get enough duck confit, I’ve probably ordered it at every restaurant where it was offered. I’ve looked at recipes for it, but I’m still reluctant (read: scared witless) to prepare the confit. Quite honestly, I had not cooked duck until I tried this one.
I bought a bird a few weeks back at the farmers market and hid it away waaaaaay in the back of my little freezer. After peeking and peeping at it for weeks, I pulled it out and decided to tame the wild beast. And by wild beast I mean my fear of failing the duck.
So, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I threw caution to the air and went for it. I broke down the bird, pulling out the breasts and left the rest of the carcass intact. That evening I seared the breasts and served them with asparagus or some other veggie, I can’t remember. I overcooked them. Hubby was concerned about eating them too rare and I just let them sear for way too long. I walked away disappointed and slept in the fetal position that night.
The next day, though, the next day I nailed it! Even though I didn’t confit those little legs and thighs, the end result was similar. Tender and juicy with a slight crisp on the skin. Oh yeah, baby. And it was as easy as ordering pizza! No need for a recipe.
In a baking dish I layered the duck leg and thigh portions, these had been salted & peppered. Then I tucked chunks of carrots, together with whole, unpeeled garlic cloves in between the open spaces and threw a few sprigs of fresh thyme here and there.
It went in the oven for 2 hours or so at 300°. I just forgot about it, well, as much as you can forget about something in the oven that is permeating every room in your home with a delicious aroma.
When it came out, the skin was golden brown, crisp and perrrrrrfect. The carrots, which are not on my list of faved veggies, were incredibly good. Sweet and soft tasting of garlic, thyme and duck fat. Oh glory.
I will try making duck again. Soon. Real Soon. What do you do with duck?