Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crisp Roast Duck with Apricot Sauce

On one long ago Thanksgiving in Texas, we experienced an early blizzard.  It started on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and continued for a day and a night.  There was no way to load up an infant and toddler and grocery shop.  The fresh turkey that I had reserved was to be picked up a from a farm on the high plains.  As far as I know, that turkey escaped any Thanksgiving table that year.  Our cupboard was as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's.   The other couple that was to join us happened to have a duck in their freezer.  While they feasted on duck, we feasted on potato soup and pumpkin pie.   From that year on, I've always had an emergency duck in our freezer.  To date, we've not had to resort to that bird.  This past Saturday, I figured it was time to treat us to roasted duck.  The recipe I found was the simplest preparation ever.  I do believe it was the best.  I checked out several recipes because I thought the roasting time was a little excessive.  It turned out to be just perfect.  The duck rendered most of it's fat and was nice and crispy.

I'm sharing our new duck recipe with you in case you haven't planned your Easter dinner.  I think it would be perfect.  Were we not invited out, I might have saved the duck until Sunday.

Crisp Roasted Duck as inspired by Epicurious

1 (5-6 lb) duck
3 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.  Position oven rack in the middle and preheat to 425 degrees
2.  Remove the giblets from the duck cavity.  Remove the excess fat from the cavity and around the neck.  Prick the skin all over with a fork.  Fold the neck skin under the body and place the duck, breast side up on the roasting rack in a deep roasting pan.  Slowly pour the boiling water over the duck.  Cool the duck (this takes only a few minutes).  Pour any water out of the cavity into the pan then dry the duck well, inside and out.  Rub inside and out with the salt and pepper.
3.  Roast duck, breast side up, 45 minutes.  Turn the duck over and roast 45 minutes more.  Turn duck again (breast side up), tilting the duck to drain any liquid from the cavity into the pan.  Continue to roast until the skin is brown and crisp, about another 45 minutes (total roasting time is about 2 to 2 1/4 hours).  Tilt duck to drain any more liquid from the cavity.  Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Apricot Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp brandy
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1.  In a saucepan, melt the butter and saute the shallot for one minute.  Add garlic and saute one minute more.
2.  Stir in the apricot jam and chicken stock.  Heat, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.  When smooth, stir in the brandy and balsamic vinegar
3.  Spoon over the duck and serve.