We are fortunate to live close to Germany where food is very reasonably priced. We find duck often at an extremely good cost, so are able to have it regularly.
I do not recall cooking duck much before 2012, so it took a few tries and some research, to make good tender meat and nice crispy skin. I finally settled on a method that has worked perfectly every time I used it. I based it off of the method described by Jessie Cross at The Hungry Mouse.
If frozen, take your duck out 2 days ahead and let defrost in the refrigerator. If fresh, then never mind. In the morning remove the innards, wash the inside, and trim the extra fat on the ends. Place the innards in a pan and make duck stock for your gravy, and set aside the fat for use in frying your stuffing.
Put the duck in a baking tray and set in a sink. Pour boiling water over it. This is the first step to getting that crispy skin. Pat the duck dry with a paper towel and set it in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
In the meanwhile prepare the stuffing. (see below for one idea)
Set oven to 150°C (300 F). Pull out your duck. With a sharp knife score along the top just cutting the fat. Take care not to go to deep. You do not want to cut through the skin, just the fatty part. Using a needle, poke all over the skin. This allows the fat to escape and will help make that skin crisp.
Stuff your duck and seal the cavity with a skewer. I use a wooden one that I soak in water to keep it from burning too much.
Bake duck as follows: this goes for a 1.8 (4 lbs) to 2 kg (4.4 lbs) duck. For bigger then that, add one or two more half hours depending on the size of the duck. For a 2.4 kg, (5.2 lbs) I needed close to three hours.
150°C (300 F)
bake ½ hour; flip and poke
bake ½ hour; flip, poke, pour out fat
bake ½ hour; flip, poke
bake ½ hour; flip, poke, pour out fat, glaze
raise oven temperature 200°C (400 F)
20 min; carve
To finish, lay carved duck on top of the extra stuffing. If some pieces are undercooked, pop back in the oven for a few minutes. Serve.
Unfortunately I was too stressed to get dinner out before the baby woke up that I forgot all about my plan to take a pic of the finished duck. I will try to update this post sometime in the future if I manage to remember to grab the camera and shoot before serving.
Date and Cashew Stuffing
duck fat scraps
1 tblsp. butter
½ cup chicken stock
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup red wine
3 cloves of garlic
2 mushrooms chopped
5 or 6 large slices of bread, diced
100 gr. Dates
60 gr. Cashews chopped
salt and pepper
1 tsp. rosemary
In a large frying pan, fry the duck skin to let loose the fat. When the skin is crisp, remove it from the pan. Add the butter. When melted fry the garlic, mushrooms, dates and cashews for a few minutes. Add the rosemary and bread. Fry till toasted. Turn off the heat and allow to cool. Add the broth, juice, and wine, salt and pepper. Mix. Stuff bird then put remaining stuffing in a shallow baking dish to heat up right before serving.
The finished product
¼ cup honey
¼ cup molasses
1 tblsp. Worcester sauce
1 tblsp. Lemon juice
2 tblsp. Apple juice
Place all ingredients in a small pan and bring to boil. Allow to cook on a low heat until slightly thickened. Using a cooking paintbrush, glaze the duck when needed. You will have leftover glaze. Save it for the gravy.
1 ½ cup red wine
1 cup apple juice
1 cup duck broth
salt and pepper to taste
Put the red wine in a small sauce pan and bring to a light boil. Leave to boil till it is reduced by about ½ . Add the apple juice and the duck broth. Let boil about 5 minutes. Add the leftover glaze and salt and pepper as needed.