So that big, glorious, hunk of meat duck we bought for Christmas dinner? We roasted him up and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the results.
First of all, earlier in the afternoon, Josh’s sister Rachel and her husband Seth stopped by on their way to the family’s house. They brought over their new little one, Raelynn. This was our first opportunity to meet her (they live down in Olympia and we hadn’t seen her yet).
What a little love bug. She even took a poopie on me. I’m loved by her, I can tell.
For Rachel’s shower, Josh and I bought a darling little “symphony” dress; Seth works in music and conducts the community orchestra, so we figured she had to have something fancy to wear for all those nights out. A girl can’t be seen in just anything when she’s listening to the cello, you know. Momma thought Christmas would be a good time to try the dress out on her, but from Raelynn’s face, I think she would have rather hung out in sweats and a hoodie all day. Not digging the fancy dress yet, Auntie Rosemary.
Someday you will, little one. Just wait till you can see yourself in the mirror and see how smashing you look.
After Seth, Rachel and Raelynn left, we got to work in the kitchen. I had to share a picture of a little snack, Kettle chips and that wonderful sour cream dip (sour cream, crushed garlic, cayenne). Too addicting.
We prepped the duck, scoring the fatty skin nice and deep, all the way to the meat. This is to let all the fat drain out and allow the skin to crisp up. We rubbed it down with salt and pepper, and put a bunch of rosemary in the cavity as well. Josh was eager to try the little mystery bits that are all hidden in the cavity. We had fun trying to guess what they all were (remember, we’re new to this whole roasting-the-whole-guy business) and cut some of the bigger ones up for cooking, leaving the little ones whole.
We then got to work prepping the veggies; we had a beautiful collection of root vegetables from the last couple of weeks, thanks to our CSA. We cleaned and prepped carrots, potatoes, shallots, garlic, turnips and parsnips. I had spotted a recipe for duck and turnips, so I thought I’d put the turnips in with the duck (and on a whim, threw the parsnips in there too), but the other veggies we roasted separately in my new dutch oven (thank you Josh!) They just looked stunning. Slender, elegant carrots, and shallots… I’m so in love with these little guys. The kinder, gentler cousin of the onion, they have a crisp rust-colored husk, and the inside is a pale, creamy purple in spots. They are just wonderful. All of the vegetables got rubbed down with olive oil, salt and pepper, and got thrown in the pot.
We also did a spaghetti squash – cut that guy in half and roasted him face down in a shallow pool of water until tender. Then, we forked all the squash out in thin, spaghetti strands, and tossed it with butter, parmesan and oregano. O Heaven!
The duck we roasted at 325F until the temperature reached 170F. We then turned up the heat to 450F, poured most of the drippings out of the pan, threw in the turnips and parsnips, and put that bad boy back in until the temperature was 180F and his skin was nice and crispy. The veggies got soft and browned on the edges, some of them crisping in the drippings a bit. Mmmmm….
Everything turned out perfectly. I was a bit nervous taking on such a new piece of meat to me, but it was just delightful. We couldn’t have been more pleased. We really didn’t know what we were doing with the heart and liver and such, because we just threw them in at the bottom of the pan, and by the time they came out they were unrecognizable little clumps of burnt… something. Not even edible. Josh wasn’t too crushed, and now we know to do it differently next time.
The next day with leftovers, we pulled off pieces of the duck, and sauteed it in a skillet with the leftover parsnips and turnips and just made a big pan of hash. We took the leftover duck skin and broiled it on a cookie sheet until it was the texture of super crisp bacon. Oh. My. Goodness. To die for!