I hope everyone had a great Christmas! We’re finally emerging from all the craziness of the holidays, and I’m able to share our Christmas dinner with you.
Our usual Christmas dinner (since it’s just the two of us) is to visit our favorite Chinese restaurant on McPhillips St, and order far more food than we can handle. We get them to package up the leftovers, and we eat them for lunch/dinner on Christmas Day. Finances have gotten a bit tight here recently, so we decided that dropping $70 was a bit too much for us right now.
Fortunately, I found a frozen duck for a quite reasonable price at Superstore. The ducks were from Fraser Valley Duck and Goose Ltd, and we were able to get one for about $8.00. Not too bad!
I decided to use the duck-cooking method I blogged about last Christmas as a basic guide. I rinsed and dried the duck inside and out (hey, a duck neck! into the freezer for stock!) and gave it a good salting inside the cavity.
I quartered two onions, smashed about four or five large cloves of garlic, and used them to stuff the duck. In between everything I squeezed several stems of fresh dill, thyme, rosemary and sage (which came in a “poultry pack” fresh spice mix from the grocery store.) However, I didn’t stuff the duck with Wonder Bread (as the Livejournal blogged suggested to soak up grease) because I was intending on making stock from the carcass, and I figured the bread would just gum up the works.
I used thin bamboo skewers to prick the skin all over, top and bottom. I made sure to concentrate on the legs and joints, but generally the holes were about 1″ apart or so. I used the skewers to “sew” the openings together (I needed two for the leg-end of the bird), and rubbed the skin with a bit more salt.
If I were to do this again (and right now, we’re looking forward to it), I would probably not use quite so much salt inside the cavity. I wanted some salt on the skin, though, to help dry it out.
I set the bird on balls of foil, breast-side up, and put it into the oven at 375°F. After about 45 minutes, I pulled it out and drained about a cup (!!!!?!) of fat from the pan. The duck went back into the oven for another 45 minutes, after which I drained another 1/2 cup of fat from the pan. I then flipped the bird over onto its back for about half an hour to get the bottom a bit brown.
I checked the temperature of the bird at this point, and declared it done. I turned the oven off and put the bird back into the oven to rest (since I was about 45 minutes away from having everything else done). When we got to carve it, we found that one duck was just about right for two people – bonus!
The rest of the dinner was finished and we sat down to eat our Christmas dinner. We had duck, garlic smashed potatoes, buttered green peas and red peppers with lemon (from a recipe in the Winnipeg Free Press), and stuffing.
It’s also the duck that keeps giving. We’re making duck stock right now from the carcass, and I am saving the 1.5 cups of duck fat (which has turned a delightful creamy white color in the fridge) to make duck fat potatoes this week.