Prime young duckling makes a welcome change from chicken. With its faintly gamy flavour it complements the tang of citrus, the tartness of green apples, the sharpness of pineapples and the pungency of soy sauce and other condiments. Marjoram, basil, rosemary, sage, summer savory, tarragon and thyme enhance the rich flavour. Young duckling (identifiable from its still flexible beak and pliable breastbone) roasts and fries perfectly. Use older birds, with their more developed flavour, in casseroles and pâtés. Some cooks remove the oil sacs, irrespective of the method of cooking. The easiest way to do this is to remove the tail or ‘parson’s nose’.
Singe, clean, wash and dry the bird. Season inside with salt, and then stuff. Truss the bird well. Rub the outside with lemon, and season. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. Ducks are generally roasted uncovered and usually do not need to be basted with fats. Cook for 20–30 minutes to brown, then reduce heat to 190°C for the remainder of the cooking period. Allow 30–45 minutes per kilogram, according to age and size. Baste the duck with honey or soy sauce, or a mixture of both, during the last 30 minutes of cooking. This crisps and colours the skin. Fruit juices or wines are also good for basting. Lift onto a serving platter and garnish with orange slices and parsley. Make a brown gravy from pan drippings and stock made from the giblets. Serve with roast potatoes (or boiled new potatoes tossed in butter and chopped mint), garden fresh green peas and apple sauce.
If the bird is very fat, prick the surface lightly after roasting for 45–50 minutes (when the skin is brown), let the excess fat drain off and remove the fat from the pan. You can also put three cups of water in the bottom of the roasting pan and baste with this every 15 minutes until the meat is cooked — this can also help if your family finds duck meat to be too rich.
Rotisseries are ideal for cooking duckling. They need little attention provided the heat is low and the breast is larded with rashers of bacon fat. Stuff the bird — even if you do not intend to serve the stuffing — as it makes the flesh richer and moister. Stuffing swells as it cooks, so do not pack the cavity too tightly. Cook any extra stuffing in a greased casserole, or if it will keep its shape, make it into forcemeat patties and cook it with the roast vegetables. A simple stuffing can be made from roughly chopped seasoned apples, or sage and onions.
To get most of the meat from a duck, pull the flesh from the carcase before slicing it for serving, as follows:
Mix well together.
Combine ingredients and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If stuffing appears too dry, add extra orange juice. If too moist, add extra breadcrumbs.
Sauté chopped onions in a little fat. Add raisins, almonds and sultanas and cook for 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat and add apricots, lemon juice and rind, and mix thoroughly.
Combine dry ingredients with beaten egg and butter.
Cut duck into serving pieces and cover with seasoned flour. Brush a shallow casserole dish with oil and crushed garlic cloves. Heat oil in pan and brown duck on all sides. Place pieces of duck in casserole, skin side down, and sprinkle with rosemary. Add a little extra seasoning and the vinegar. Cover the casserole and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Bake covered for about ¾ hour in a moderate oven, then turn duck pieces skin side up, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes more, until tender. Using paper towel or tissues, blot off any excess fat as it appears. Serve with saffron rice and fresh green salad.
Cut duck into serving portions, brown lightly in fat, and place pieces in a deep casserole. Barely cover with stock (or substitute chicken or mushroom stock cubes and water). Cook gently until nearly tender — about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper, add one small can of diced pineapple and syrup, and a dessertspoon of soy sauce (less if preferred). Cook for another 20–30 minutes. If you want to thicken the sauce, lift duck pieces onto a serving platter and keep hot. Thicken sauce with a little cornflour or arrowroot, and pour over duck.
Marinate figs in the wine for several hours. Season the prepared duck with salt and pepper. Mix together breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, orange rind and juice, bind with egg, season with salt and pepper and place stuffing in cavity.
Brown the bird in a casserole in a hot oven, then drain excess fat away. Pour wine from figs over the duck and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sliced onions, garlic and thyme or marjoram, cover the casserole and continue cooking in a slow oven until duck is tender. Remove duck from casserole, and reduce the sauce by cooking uncovered at a high temperature for about 15 minutes, watching carefully. Add the figs and cook gently for another 10 minutes.
Arrange the figs around the duck. Allow sauce to cool, remove any fat, and pour sauce over duck. (In summer, a little gelatine added to the reduced sauce will assist it to gel more firmly). Serve cold with tossed green salad.
Rub the duck inside and out with a mixture of lemon juice, crushed garlic clove, salt and pepper. Sauté the onion in a little butter, add the pork mince and brown gently, breaking the mince into pieces as it cooks. Remove from heat and mix in the breadcrumbs, cayenne, rosemary, olives and parsley. Allow mixture to cool, then stuff the duck.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Place duck breast side up on a rack in a roasting pan, and brown. Reduce oven heat to 175°C and cook until almost done. Pour off excess fat as it appears. During the final 30 minutes, or until duck is tender, baste frequently with Marsala or sweet sherry. Remove duck to serving dish. Skim off any fat and serve remaining juices in a gravy boat.
Add the cumquats and the spices to the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add the sugar, salt, wine, ginger and lime juice and bring to boiling point. Mix cornflour with cold water, stir into cumquat mixture and continue to stir until mixture boils and thickens. Turn heat down. Add the duck meat and allow to heat in sauce. Serve with plain boiled rice.
Joint duck, cut into serving pieces, and toss lightly in flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in pan and brown duck on all sides. Transfer to casserole. Add onion, green pepper and garlic to the oil remaining in the pan and sauté for 5 minutes. Drain sautéed vegetables and add to casserole with the wine, bay leaf and tomato paste.
Cover casserole and cook in a moderate oven for 1 hour or until duck is tender. Skim off any fat as it appears. Sauté the sliced mushrooms in a little butter, then add them to the casserole together with the peas and olives, and cook for 10 minutes longer to reheat. Serve with duchess potatoes.
Brown the bacon and onions with a little butter and remove from pan. Place duckling in pan and brown on all sides. Drain away the fat. Place all ingredients in a casserole, cover and cook gently until duck is tender. When cooked, remove duck from sauce to keep warm. Thicken sauce with a little cornflour or arrowroot, and pour over duck.
Remove pith from oranges and grapefruit. Dice oranges and divide grapefruit into segments. Toss all ingredients together and chill. Serve on crisp lettuce leaves.