Thursday, January 10, 2013

I cooked a duck!

Duck is something that my husband and I enjoy eating on occasion in a specialty salad at one of our favorite local dining spots, The Brewster Inn.  Duck can be greatly maligned and might not speak to everyone's taste but, when my husband came home with a five and a half pound bird last Saturday, I thought that this was my opportunity to learn. 

I browsed a few websites, pulled out my Martha Stewart cookbook and got an education in the culinary techniques of cooking the perfect duck. One very important step to ensure the skin is crispy and not fatty is to prick and slash the skin so the layer of fat insulating the duck can cook off. This is what my bird looked like:

After slashing the skin adding a generous portion of salt and pepper are all you need for seasoning and you are ready to place the duck in a moderate 350 degree oven. A roasting pan that allows the fat to drip away from the cooking bird is also important. Tie up the legs, tuck in the wings and roast with breast side up.

After an hour of cooking (and then two more times) you will need to flip the bird, prick the skin the let the fat drain. The total cooking time was to be around four hours, I think I let mine roast around 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

In the final half hour, I turned the heat up to 500 to crisp the skin even more and that worked for about 10 minutes until my smoke alarm went off.

The real key to successful duck is the rendering of the fat from the skin, if not treated properly it will give the meat a fatty bite or an off taste and the time spent roasting will be a waste. When roasted to perfection the skin is crispy and adds additional texture and flavor.

We enjoyed ours with a salad of baby spinach, strawberries, feta and cranberries.

It was a fun and tasteful experience! The cooking tips I found to be most helpful came from The Amateur Gourmet, which were based on the tips of kitchen maven, Martha Stewart.

Overall, it was an enjoying experience. It really only takes patience and time to roast a perfect duck at home.


  1. Wow! Good for you!! Your duck looks beautiful. We love the Brewster Inn so much too--we had our rehearsal dinner there. :)

    By the way, when you said you work in Hamilton, does that mean Colgate? My mother worked at Colgate in the Chaplains office for 2 years, and so I was curious!

    Another p.s. since you mentioned our family's cookbook--there was a write-up on it with recipes included in yesterday's Post Standard, if you are can be found online here too:

    Sorry for the long comment!! :)

    1. Yes, 15 years at Colgate, I love it, it's a wonderful place, I was married by my uncle in the chapel(a pastor from Grand Rapids, Mich) so it will always be especially dear. I will definitely check out the Post Standard and I have an order in on Amazon for your book. I grew up in the southern tier of NY, my Dad was a Cornell grad so we spent time in the Finger Lakes and this book will be fun to read and share.

    2. Fantastic! Such a small world! Thank you so much for your support for our book. :)