I have these moments when I ache for the future. It’s usually when I have too much time on my hands. Whether the anticipated event is a few hours, a few days, or a few months away, I abhor waiting. My parents always told me that I wanted instant gratification, that this was not good for my character, and I needed to learn to wait. However, I feel as though I’ve done my share of waiting in this life.
As the daughter of a preacher, many hours of my childhood were spent waiting after church for all the little old ladies, happy young couples, and the occasional disenchanted parishioner to shake the hand of my mother and father. Now and then I stood next to them, resigning myself to the hugs I would no doubt receive from the well-meaning elderly, ending up with aching jaws from forced smiles, and smelling like a perfume factory whose target consumer group is women over seventy. I’m not complaining about this, mind you; these memories are fond ones that I can now smile about, for these times helped shape me into the person I am. But I still hate waiting.
Duck has earned a bad reputation. When duck is mentioned, most people automatically think, “Oh, it’s too much work to be worth it,” or “I don’t have the patience for all the monitoring it needs.” My first time making a whole duck, despite the bad rap, was pleasantly surprising. It doesn’t really require a lot of work, and though a bit of time is needed, if you’re well prepared, it will go smoothly! I’ll be making a whole series of posts based on duck. Rather than serving it as a main course, I decided to see how many meals I could get out of one duck. The first recipe, after roasting the whole duck and making stock, is my first attempt at ramen, which I think really highlights the rich tasting stock.
Whole Roasted Duck
1 whole duck, giblets removed
8 juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking method from Jamie Oliver.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Remove the giblets from the duck, and put in the fridge for later use in the stock. Don’t put the liver in the stock, as it will make it too bitter. But, if you like the taste of liver, save it for Blackberry Duck Liver Smørrebrød! In the cavity of the duck, place the lemon, lightly crushed juniper berries, peppercorns, peeled garlic, bay leaves, and parsley. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the duck. Put the duck in a roasting dish, breast side down, and bake for 1 hour.
Take the duck out of the oven, and spoon the fat through a strainer into a clean jar or glass container. Carefully turn the duck over to be breast side up, and return to the oven.
At about 50 minutes, turn the oven up to 205C/400F and remove the dish from the oven and again spoon the fat into the jar through the sieve. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and tent with foil until ready to serve. If you’re not serving it as a main course, then let it cool a bit, and keep going for some tasty and nutritious stock!
Rich Duck Stock
If you don’t want to serve the duck whole right away, then proceed to remove all the meat from the bones, maintaining the oven temperature. Don’t worry about leaving bits of meat and skin on, because you’ll end up with some delicious fritons, or cracklings, to sprinkle on salads or other dishes!
Put the carcass on a baking sheet or back in the roasting dish and roast for 1 hour. Remove the carcass from the oven and break or cut it apart so it will fit into a large stockpot or slow cooker. Remove any crispy bits of meat or skin, and reserve for garnishing salads or other dishes, such as Risotto-Stuffed Peppers.
If you’re using a stock pot, you will want to start early in the day, so wrap the carcass pieces and refrigerate with the giblets (remove the liver to cook separately) until you’re ready to start. Put the carcass and giblets in the large stock pot and cover with water. Add a couple chopped celery stalks, a bay leaf, a few black peppercorns, and a peeled shallot or onion. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 3-8 hours.
If you’re using a slow cooker, you can make this overnight. Put the carcass pieces and giblets (don’t forget to leave the liver out) directly in the slow cooker and cover with water. Add a couple chopped celery stalks, a bay leaf, a few black peppercorns, and a peeled shallot or onion. Put on the lid and turn on low. Leave overnight or up to 15 hours.
Hint: Freeze some stock in ice cube trays to later add to stir fry, sauces, etc.
After cooking, let the stock cool a bit, then strain it into a large bowl or jar. Refrigerate overnight and remove the solidified fat the next day (add to the fat you reserved from the roasting pan).
Keeps in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for several months.
Now, take some of that lovely stock, rejuvenate yourself with a morning mug, or make yourself a delicious lunch!
This makes two lunch servings.
2 blocks ramen noodles
1 head bok choy
handful cooked duck leg meat
1 soft-boiled egg
small square cheesecloth
3-4 sprigs fresh parsley
about 10 juniper berries
large pinch dried sage
Slightly crush the juniper berries, and place in the middle of the cheesecloth along with the parsley and sage. Tie the cheesecloth tightly around the herbs with the kitchen string, and place in a pot large enough for 1 liter of stock. Pour the stock over the bouquet garni and heat on medium high heat until it begins to boil. Turn heat down, and continue to simmer for at least ten minutes until you’re ready with the rest of the ingredients.
Prepare the toppings: soft-boil the egg, and place it in cold water to cool before peeling and cutting in half; wash and thinly slice the mushrooms and scallion; cut the duck meat into bite-sized slices; wash the bok choy, and cut it in half lengthwise.
Cook the ramen according to the package instructions, and at the same time add the bok choy to the broth for five minutes.
Divide the noodles between the two bowls, add toppings, then ladle over some broth. Serve right away.