Duck heaven…need I say more.
Holy cow duck, this is my 13th Thanksgiving duck. The same recipe (thank you Tyler Florence) since 2001. I’ve tweaked the cooking time (prefer my duck medium rare), but everything else has stayed the same.
Me, on the other hand, I’ve changed. I’ve come a long way since then. Back in 2001, I was just learning how to cook (and am still learning). Didn’t own as many kitchen tools/gadgets and cookbooks (that are slowly taking over my tiny, cramped kitchen) as I do now. I liked food, but now I really like food and have gained a much better appreciation for the origins of my food. Watched a lot of the Food Network in those early days. Remember way back, when the Food Network actually featured instructional cooking shows?
Thanksgiving, no doubt, is a time to look back and give thanks. So what am I thankful for?
I am thankful that 13 years ago I met my best friend (on the soccer field in Washington, D.C). In the ensuing years, we’ve lived in Newport, RI; Chicago, IL; and full-circle back to D.C. I am so grateful to have met someone who shares my enthusiasm and adventure for good food (including duck), cooking, travel, and life. Someone with whom I have been fortunate to see the world. Someone who puts up with all my craziness (and there is craziness), including having Thanksgiving in mid-November so that I can put this post together in time for the holiday. My dishwasher, ad-hoc editor, and taste-tester. Someone who supports me, encourages me to follow my heart, to pursue my dreams (even when I’m not sure where that path will take me). Lastly, I am happy to be able to share Thanksgiving this year (and my 40th birthday) with my family. For this I am thankful.
My uncle always teases me that it’s unpatriotic to not eat turkey at Thanksgiving. However, after a little research, I learned that there was no mention of turkey at the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in 1621. Historical accounts mention “fowl” being served; historians suspect that the fowl being referred to were wild duck and goose, both of which were plentiful at the time. Hmm, so who’s unpatriotic here?
This particular variety of duck is called Rouen (or Rhone) duck from our friends at Country Pleasures Farm. The Rouen originates from France and is a descendant of the Mallard duck. In place of Rouen, you could use the more common (at least here in the United States) Muscovy, Mallard, or even Pekin duck.
The duck is marinated in a bath of soy, coffee, honey, brown sugar, miso, ginger, and citrus; when roasted, the duck takes on a rich mahogany color.
I prefer my duck medium rare; anything more and the duck becomes dry. You can always increase the cooking time if you like your duck a little more well done.
What dishes will grace your Thanksgiving table this year?
I hope you find yourself surrounded by good food and company.
Happy (early) Thanksgiving!
Recipe from Tyler Florence (Food Network)
1 (4-5 pound) whole duck
2 cups (low sodium, non-GMO) soy/tamari
1 cup raw honey
1 cup cold black coffee
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup miso (used red miso)
1 orange, halved
1 lemon, halved
1 lime, halved
Mix the soy, honey, coffee, brown sugar, ginger, and miso in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of the orange, lemon, and lime into the marinade. Whisk until well combined.
Using a fork, pierce the duck skin all over to allow the marinade to penetrate. Stuff the cavity with the citrus halves. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the duck in a large (two-gallon) zip-lock bag. Pour in the marinade. Place the duck in a pan (just in case there’s leakage). Refrigerate for 24 hours.
The following day, remove the duck from the marinade and pat dry.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the duck, breast side up, on a rack. Place the rack in a roasting pan.
First, roast the duck at 450F degrees for 20 minutes (the high temperature helps to caramelize the skin, giving it that rich mahogany color). After 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325F and cook another hour.
Let rest for 10 minutes. Dig in.