I have now moved beyond the world of chickens, I have roasted a whole duck. I love duck, I have for as long as I could remember. It seems so much fancier, more decadent, and more encased in fat than chicken. And for a girl who didn't eat red meat or pork (yes, I eat it all now) and enjoyed fancy restaurants it was a menu's saving grace. And now, I have conquered it. I will go so far as to say my first attempt was a wild success, the meat was succulent, the skin was extra crispy, the flavors were simple, and I put the sauce on the side (and then proceeded to spoon feed it to my self, but I'll get to that in a minute).
The duck was a waiting game, I bought it frozen and had to wait 3 days for it to thaw. The anticipation was building. I researched the best roasting methods. I settled on some tips from Epicurious, which is also where I discovered a delectable Cherry Port Sauce, which they paired with seared duck breasts and I altered very slightly.
Crispy Roast Duck:
1 5-6 pound duck
Salt and Pepper
Remove all the inside bits of the duck and wash it, inside and out. Put it on a broiler pan and pre heat the oven to 425 degrees. Boil a small pot of water. Place the duck breast side up on a broiler pan. Pour the boiling water over all over the duck, this tightens the skin. Pat the duck dry (carefully) and empty the duck, the bottom part of the pan should be pretty full of water but not overflowing or in danger of spilling while being moved. Salt and pepper the duck inside and out on both sides, and stab around with a fork, piercing the skin. Roast for 45 minutes breast side up. Remove from oven, spill juices into the pan, and flip the duck over, return it to the oven and roast for another 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven again, spill the juices out and flip it a final time (so that it is once again breast side up), return to the oven and roast about 35 minutes more until skin is extra crispy everywhere. Let rest 15-20 minutes and then carve and serve.
I chose to serve it with the sauce, but the duck definitely could be eaten on it's own. Consequently the sauce would taste fantastic on pancakes, ice cream, pound cake, or even on toast. It is a sweet-savory combination that could go either way. With the duck you just need a little it enhances the flavor, cuts through the fat, but doesn't overwhelm the deliciousness of a simple roast duck.
Cherry Port Sauce:
3 tbsp of duck drippings
1 tbsp cold butter
2 Medium shallots
1/2 cup chicken stock (or half a cup of water, 1/2 tsp of Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base)
8 bing cherries
2 tbsp tawny Port
1 tbsp honey
Heat the duck drippings in a small pot over medium heat. Dice the shallots and stir into the drippings, cook for a few minutes until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the stock and turn heat to high. Remove the cherry pits and give them a rough chop. Add the port, honey, and cherries. Keep on a boil for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens and reduces. Turn heat off and stir in the butter. Serve and enjoy.