Holy Duck!

Folks, this is a real time post! I am making a dinner of roasted duck with a cranberry, cherry and orange sauce served with a mushroom chicken rice and a romaine salad.

I went to the Google for a recipe and it gave me Ina Garten! Holy Christmas, like the pinnacle of cooking, for a beginner. I was worried for a minute when it was graded an Intermediate level recipe but then I got over it and went shopping!

Sorry, I had to stop typing to eat.

Here is what Ina says:

  1. Unwrap the ducks and allow them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. With a fork, prick the skin without piercing the meat. This will allow the fat to drain off while the ducks cook.
  2. Meanwhile, in a very large stock pot which can hold the 2 ducks, heat the chicken broth with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt until it boils. Add the ducks very carefully and bring the stock back to a boil. If there isn’t enough stock to cover the ducks, add the hottest tap water to cover. If the ducks float to the top, place a plate on top to keep them immersed. When the stock comes back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer the ducks in the stock for 45 minutes.
  3. When the ducks are finished simmering, skim off enough duck fat from the top of the stock to pour a film on the bottom of a 14 by 18 by 3-inch roasting pan. This will keep the ducks from sticking when they roast. Carefully take the ducks out of the stock, holding them over the pot to drain. Place them in the roasting pan, pat the skin dry with paper towels, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. If you have time, allow the ducks to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the skin to dry.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean or it will smoke!) Roast the ducks for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Here is what I did differently: I added a package of Soup Herbs to the broth and the herbs were bay leaf, rosemary, parsley and thyme. I call them soup herbs because I cheated and got a prepackaged bundle that was cheaper and called Soup Herbs. I also got Lemongrass and Seafood Herbs for a dish later in the week but I did add some lemongrass to the broth as well.

Per Ina’s directions I let the bird dry out for 30 minutes before I salted and peppered it and stuck it in the oven. Against Ina’s directions I went with a 450 degree oven for 45 minutes and used a rack in my roasting pan and instead of skimming off the fat I scooped out about 4 cups of the boiling liquid and added a little bit to the bottom of the pan before I put her in and about every 20 minutes after that until I ran out and then I added some Chardonnay.

For my fancy sauce which I put into tiny bowls so it became dip I used a package of frozen pitted sweet cherries, the juice of 2 clementines with the zest and 1/4 can of frozen cranberry juice mix that I let melt in its own container and a pinch of salt. That was an awesome sauce that had a near fatal twist but with the help of the hubs I was able to bring it back from the brink of the terribly pained face he made when he tasted it to something that he high fived me for. See what had happened was I had purchased a bottle of wine on sale, it was a reputable brand but this bottle turned out to be something carbonated and oddly sweet and total not for drinking so we corked it and set it aside for me to cook with and I thought this would be the perfect application for said oddly sweet wine, alas it made my cherry sauce ridiculously and oddly sweet. Knowing that I was totally winging this sauce I got 2 bags of cherries so I could make a second if the first went south so after the hubs tasted the sauce and made the face of doom I started the second bag immediately. To this second and only hope for a decent sauce I added the juice of two clementines and the zest of one , 1/4 of the rest of the melted cranberry juice and a pinch of salt. I put this pot of try again on the same side of the stove as oh my goodness things went way wrong and started thinking about how to correct what went wrong. I decided to add more salt, clementine juice and zest and cranberry juice and a good simmer. Did I mention that I put both pans on the same side of the stove? Did I mention that I didn’t add any extra water to the new batch of sauce and just used juice concentrate? So what happens when you turn up the wrong burner and go for a smoke break is that your stove also takes a smoke break and your husband comes dashing out to tell you that he has turned off the correct burner and Googled how to get burnt on sugar out of your Grandmothers pot. Because Grandmas pots are precious and sometimes sauce goes very, very wrong.

And then the laptop battery dies and the charger stops working so I had to get a new one! Totally a first world problem.

Back to dinner!! We finally got a sauce that didn’t have anyone making faces and I accomplished this by adding some of the orange sauce that had come with the duck and more of the juice concentrate and another pinch of salt and letting it simmer down to distribute the new flavor from the orange sauce.

I decided to go with a package of flavored rice, chicken and mushroom flavored with bits of dried mushrooms. I was thinking that the earthy flavor of the mushrooms would go nicely with the outdoors flavor that duck has. I added a bit more mushroom powder and used white wine as well as water to cook it in.

I figured we needed a green veg of some kind so I chopped up some iceburg and romaine lettuce and topped it with mushrooms and bleu cheese dressing.

Don’t be scared to try new things! I smoked out the entire kitchen and almost ruined a pot but something tasty did come out of disaster!

Thanks ya’ll!! Happy cooking!

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