I wanted to make duck a while back, but I had a hard time finding it in the store. I found a duck, but it sat in the freezer for a while because I got busy with other things. It worked out perfectly that I saved the duck for a celebratory New Year’s Day dinner! It was extra nice because I was able to make the meal with items I had at the house, no going out for ingredients!
Caneton Roti (Roast Duckling)
A 5.5.lb duckling
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
a pinch of thyme or sage
small sliced onion
1 medium sliced carrot
1 medium sliced onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of brown stock
1-2 teaspoon of softened butter
1. Preheat the over to 425 degrees. Season the inside of the duck with salt, pepper, herbs and the small sliced onion. Prick the skin around the thighs, back, and lower breast. Dry the duck.
2. Place the duck breast up in a roasting pan, strew the veggies around it, and set it in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes to brown lightly.
3. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and turn the duck on its side. Make sure the duck is cooking but not burning, adjust heat if necessary. Remove accumulated fat occasionally.
4. About 30 minutes later, turn the duck to its other side.
5. 15 minutes before the end of the estimated time, salt the duck and turn it breast up.
Note: the French eat duck around medium rare. You can check the temperature of the duck by pricking its thigh. If the juice runs pale pink, it’s medium rare. If it runs yellow it’s well done.
6. Once done, place the duck on a serving platter and set in the over (turned off, but still warm).
7. Place the roasting pan on a burner, add 2 cups of stock. If you want to make your own from the innards of the duck (which I suggest) reference this post. Bring to a boil over high heat. Now, Julia Child’s recipe has you serve it as is. I, however, added a water and flour mix to thicken it into gravy.
Gratin Jurassien (Scalloped Potatoes with Heavy Cream & Cheese)
4 tablespoons of butter
2 lbs of “boiling potatoes” sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 cup of grated swiss cheese (I used a swiss & gruyere combo from Trader Joe’s)
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
2. Smear 1 tablespoon of butter into the baking dish. Arrange layers of potatoes in it, seasoning each layer with salt, pepper, cheese, and dots of butter.
3. Pour the cream over the potatoes.
4. Place on the range, bringing to an almost simmer slowly.
5. Place in the middle of a preheated oven and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, regulating over heat throughout baking, so the cream never quite bubbles. The gratin is done when the potatoes are tender and have absorbed the cream, and the top is lightly browned.
I am pretty happy with the dinner. The duck turned out a perfect medium-rare and was very tasty. The only problem with cooking whole birds is that both my husband and I stink at carving meat! And a duck is longer and skinner, with less pockets of meats, so slicing is tricky! The potatoes were a real treat. I used to loved the boxed potatoes al gratin, made with yellow cheese-stuff, when I was younger. This tasted 100 times better, with a better type of cheese, and fresh potatoes. Yum. The crispy top was perfect, hiding creamy, soft potato slices. I think we started the new year right.
Also, you may have noticed that the potatoes and duck called for different oven temperatures….I cooked my potatoes in my toaster oven! I love that thing. We don’t have a microwave, and it heats things up nicely. However, I recently began using it to cook smaller dishes. It works great, and preheats a heck of a lot faster than our dinosaur oven!