I made this last weekend but it's been a busy week in the Mamacook household. I now have my own business providing food safety support to food companies (which is my day job) and it's going pretty well but it does mean that time is short to fit in playing with my toddler, blogging, running and sleeping. Unfortunately sleeping is paying the price as a result and if you think I've touched the vacuum cleaner in the last few weeks you are much mistaken!
It's inevitable that something has to give but I hope to get back on top of blogging asap because it brings me so much joy. It's odd to think my little blog has been going for nearly two years now and regularly has 20,000 page views a month. That might not sound like a lot but it's significant for me.
I still use the recipes from my first post (so much so I even went back and added a photograph recently) so everything changes but nothing does in lots of ways.
This is an easy recipe for duck. If you've never cooked duck it's a great meat to roast. Just be aware the amount of meat you will get won't be huge but you will feed 2 adults and a toddler without much of a problem. Also don't be afraid of the fat (there's a life lesson!) The fat is delicious and great for making roast potatoes. In fact, you could freeze it and use it for Christmas day!
Which comes to another point. Turkey is not for everyone and if you are just eating as a couple on Christmas day, a duck might be a tasty alternative if you fancy something a bit different.
Slow Roast Duck with Apples and Thyme
2kg Duck (remove and keep the giblets if there is a giblet pack, defrost if frozen.)
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 eating apple
A few sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp Cornflour (cornstarch)
Bacon to make liver and bacon bites (if liked if you have giblets)
Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350F. Cut the apple and onion into wedges, (just remove any root and dirt from the onion, there is no need to peel). Halve the garlic cloves. Put a couple of the apple and onion wedges, garlic and some of the thyme into the cavity. Do not completely fill, you want to leave an air space so the heat can penetrate. Put the remaining apple, onion etc into a baking dish and put an oven safe rack securely on top (a clean deep grill pan is great for this.)
Put about 2cm / 1 inch of water in the base of the tray and put the duck on top of the rack so it's over the tray. Season the skin with pepper and a little salt.
Roast for 1 hour at 180oC / 350F, then reduce the heat to 150oC / 300F for the remaining cooking time of 90 minutes increasing to 200oC / 400F for the last 10 minutes or until the duck is fully cooked and crispy. Add more water to the tray underneath if it starts to boil away.
While the duck is cooking, you can use the giblets. The heart and neck can be used to make stock (boil away for an hour or so in water and then strain). The liver can be cut into small pieces, wrapped in bacon and cooked for about 30-40 minutes or until fully cooked.
Once the duck is ready, put onto a carving tray to rest. Pour the cooking juices from under the duck into a jug and carefully remove the fatty layer and save it for roasting potatoes another day.
Sieve the cooking juices pressing the apple and garlic to extract some flavour if liked into a saucepan and add the stock from the giblets if you have it. Discard the apple, garlic and onions as their flavouring job is done! Boil hard to reduce the stock until it tastes to your liking. If the flavour is a bit 'thin' add a chicken stock cube if liked. Thicken the gravy by mixing a tbsp of cornflour with cold water and then adding this gradually to the boiling stock, stirring all the time. Add more cornflour if you like it thicker.
Carve the duck and serve with vegetables. My son loved the meat and the crispy skin. Just be aware that the skin has salt on so not to serve to very small babies but if you make the gravy yourself without adding a stock cube or seasoning you can serve that to them without worry!