Monday, September 28, 2009

Duck, Duck, Nom

I love cooking game meats. I grew up in a hunting family where what we brought in was a significant portion of the meat we ate: venison, goose, squirrel, rabbit, grouse, and duck. Now that I no longer live with my parents and no longer hunt (due to living in a city and not tolerating cold at all), I don't get game nearly as often. But, if I'm willing to pay a bit of cash, I can often get farm-raised game in a local grocery.

This week, I had offered to provide a meat entreé for a dinner party hosted by a friend. I wanted to make a special dish that people would remember and that they couldn't get very often, so I chose to roast a duck with rosemary and nectarines.

Duck with Rosemary and Nectarine
1 2-3 pound ducking, skin on (if the duck comes skinless, lay strips of bacon along the breast to keep it from drying out)
1 nectarine
2-3 stalks rosemary
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Chop the rosemary finely.
WARNING: Do not chop fingers while chopping rosemary. If finger is chopped while chopping rosemary, seek medical attention if necessary. Once finger is appropriately treated and bandaged, discard rosemary and start with fresh rosemary, knife, and cutting board. Or avoid potential of above by using food processor ;)

Peel nectarine and remove pit. Slice or chop nectarine into large pieces.

Unwrap duck and remove any giblets, neck, or other material remaining in body cavity. Rinse out with cold water and drain briefly.

Spread salt throughout the cavity of the duck and rub gently. Insert rosemary and nectarine into cavity.

Spread a little of the butter in a roasting dish and place bird in dish. Rub remaining butter on the skin of the bird (if bird is skinless, skip this and lay bacon on bird instead).

Place duck in oven and cook until internal temperature has reached 170°F (77°C). Remove duck (remove bacon now) and let rest.

The duck can be served hot or cold.

I served the duck cold as I made it the day before the party. The duck remained moist and flavorful, perfumed with the rosemary. The gaminess of the duck was offset by the nectarine, though apricots, apples, or peaches will work as well.

The duck meat was very, very moist and tender. In fact, the carving the duck was an adventure as it wanted to fall away from the bone.

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