Holy snapping duck shit….did you realise that Winter is almost over?
Thank Christ for that, right? It’s been freezing in our new house. Top of my To Do List is get a shit-hot gas heater for next winter.
After writing my winter to do list and crossing the first three off in lightening speed I got a tad complacent and forgot all about it. Well, shit, mates, I nearly missed the boat but I’m going to sneak it in today, although today is not technically a recipe day.
You know what, it’s my blog, and I’ll mix it up if I want to….and you’ll actually thank me because this duck recipe that my mum gave me is all that.
I really love when you find a recipe that is simple, yet impressive enough to serve at a dinner party, or heaven forbid, a dinner date. I had those once.
This duck got me lucky.
I don’t really have any quippy duck tales to share with you. I guess the most interesting duck fact I have is that when I was growing up I lived next-door to this super-kooky, eccentric lady named Helen. She lived with her dear ol’ toothless Ma, and the pair of spinsters were co-mums to 300+ quackers….. In suburbia. Little bit noisy, little bit smelly.
I personally think Helen may have been a touch quackers herself, but, regardless, she was very lovely. She used to let me watch the little ducklings hatch and I would adopt a duckling a month as they fast grew from those sweet, little fluffy ducklings into grown ups.
She didn’t eat the ducks. In fact, I have no idea what she did with her ducks. I must remember to ask my Mum.
When I buy a duck and it’s just for the two of us, I tend to split it up the backbone and cut it with kitchen scissors so I can freeze half. I did that today, because I want to make a nice rich, duck ragout to throw over some pasta, another day.
This recipe will feed four, and everyone will love your arse for cooking it…..and you can be all smug because only you will know it was a piece of cake.
Yield : 4 serves
You will need :
1 x 2.5 kg duck
sea salt and ground pepper
small bunch of mint, chopped
For the roast pumpkin :
1-2 dried chillis, crumbled
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 large butternut pumpkin, quartered
For the dressing :
zest and juice of 1-2 limes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 fresh chilli, finely chopped (deseeded if you want a little less heat)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
5 shallots, white parts trimmed and julienned, green ends finely chopped
a large bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
Preheat over to 180C
Wash duck and pat dry, then rub inside and out with salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a baking tray and roast for about 2.5 hrs, turning over now and then. Halfway through, drain away a lot of the fat.
If you’re only doing half the duck, it’s about 1 and a bit hours. Keep an eye on it.
In a pestle and mortar, bash up your dried chills and coriander seeds and add the ground cinnamon and a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin and save to one side.
Cut the pumpkin into wedges, place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle over the ground spices and give pumpkin a good toss, spreading pieces in one layer. When the duck has been in for an hour and fifteen minutes, pop the pumpkin into the oven as well.
Meanwhile, rinse the pumpkin seeds, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil. Toast in a dry frying pan until crisp. I really like pumpkin seeds so I often throw a handful of pepitas in when I do this bit. They kind of puff up and add another texture, and we love texture.
To make the dressing, put the lime juice and zest into a bowl, add the same amount of olive oil, plus sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir in the sugar, chilli, garlic, coriander stalks and green shallot ends. Taste and adjust the sweet and sourness of the dressing.
When the duck is nice and crispy and the pumpkin is soft and sticky (keep an eye on the pumpkin, sometimes it cooks faster). Take both pans out. Using 2 forks, shred the meat off the bone and put into a large bowl. While duck and pumpkin are still warm, toss with toasted seeds, half the coriander leaves, half the mint and half the white onion slices. Pour on the dressing and toss together with gentle, fairy fingers.
Serve sprinkled with the rest of the coriander, mint and onion.
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