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Duck Help

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Had two ducks in the freezer so decided to prepare them today.  I removed the breasts legs and thighs and set aside, took the necks and carcasses and roasted them in the oven to make a stock.  scored the breasts and laid them down to render in my pan at first they began to stick but eventually got loose.  the legs completely stuck and all the fat ripped off i think it was part due to the terrible pan.  the breasts just didn't render nice and the duck completely overcooked maybe i trimmed to much fat so there wasn't enough to protect the meat???  I also let my stock which came out quite nice reduce to much and it was ruined, extremely frustrated with everything to say the least i refused to serve anything.  My plan was to strain my stock reduce it to a nice sauce consistency, pan roast fingerling potatoes with some fresh kale along with my reduced stock, and to reduce some pomegranate juice with some molasses and honey to glaze the duck and garnish with pomegranate seeds, nothing worked out i guess things like this happen but i got extremely frustrated. thoughts?

post #2 of 10

Breasts go in a cold pan.  Cold pan, render, turn once, keep in pan or remove from heat depending on how cold it was, let it rest a bit.  It should be medium rare to medium after resting a couple minutes.  I also like to remove the duck fat one or twice so the breasts aren't swimming in duck fat.

 

As for the legs, maybe roast/braise in advance.

 

Sauce, well you try and finish the sauce at the last moment.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by kuan View Post

Breasts go in a cold pan.  Cold pan, render, turn once, keep in pan or remove from heat depending on how cold it was, let it rest a bit.  It should be medium rare to medium after resting a couple minutes.  I also like to remove the duck fat one or twice so the breasts aren't swimming in duck fat.

 

As for the legs, maybe roast/braise in advance.

 

Sauce, well you try and finish the sauce at the last moment.



The way my chef has taught me was to get the pan smoking hot and then put the duck on, turn the heat to low to render and finish how you describe. What exactly do you mean by cold pan? Put the duck in the pan first and then put it on the stove on low heat? Is this your own technique of putting it in a cold pan? I ask because I never went to school and that was the only way I was ever shown :p

post #4 of 10

The main thing is to not get frustrated! It's easy sometimes for us to go there when we're in the thick of it, and mistakes happen, but as long you learn something from those mistakes you can and will have better outcomes in the future. Cliche I know but I am always surprised how many times I see chefs forget that golden rule. Once you're frustrated it usually all goes downhill from there.

 

The cold pan method is the best for rendering fat from the breast, but often will not gain you the type of caramelization you are probably looking for with a duck breast. I suggest rendering prior to service, then giving a quick sear in a hot pan when the item is called for. Rest rest rest and all that. Also always save that fat! It's worth it's weight in gold as you probably know, and I almost always make confit with the legs.

post #5 of 10

One error you made was to take them out of freezer and  let the ducks both thaw and dry out in th fridge uncovered. Chicken and duck are best if cooked being as dry as possible so as to get a crispy skin. The refrig dries out the 2.over time.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #6 of 10

The way I cook my duck legs is to start off low, then crisp the skin later.

 

I put the legs, along with some fat (usually use what I have on hand: duck fat, beef fat, even butter), in a baking dish. Cover with foil and put into a low oven (about 200F) for 3-4 hours. At this point, the fat should have rendered and the meat should be tender. Before I serve, I heat up and pan and put the duck in there to crisp up the skin. If the duck just came out of the oven, I cook on a higher heat to get the skin crispy as quick as possible. If the duck had finished cooking in the oven a while ago, I tend to cook on lower heat so that the inside can heat back up when I crisp the skin.

post #7 of 10

Preparing duck breast sous-vide has given me the absolute BEST fool-proof outcome one could imagine.

 

All it takes is a stock pot, a quality plastic freezer bag (like ZipLoc or the sort that seals completely), a straw (optional), a candy thermometer for measuring water temperature, and a silicone oven mat.

 

This video does a similar recipe/method to what I've done, and it has trumped many restaurants I've been to.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJQQPKLMwAg

 

That final sear for the crispy skin....the perfectly juicy interior....this duck is heaven. AND, especially after the first time, it really isn't all that hard to do! Gives you plenty of time to prepare your sides and get everything hot on the plate.

post #8 of 10

Preparing duck breast sous-vide has given me the absolute BEST fool-proof outcome one could imagine.

 

All it takes is a stock pot, a quality plastic freezer bag (like ZipLoc or the sort that seals completely), a straw (optional), a candy thermometer for measuring water temperature, and a silicone oven mat.

 

There's a video that does a similar recipe/method to what I've done, and it has trumped many restaurants I've been to.

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2011/01/stovetop-sous-vide-episode-1-best-duck.html

 

That final sear for the crispy skin....the perfectly juicy interior....this duck is heaven. AND, especially after the first time, it really isn't all that hard to do! Gives you plenty of time to prepare your sides and get everything hot on the plate.

post #9 of 10

Not sure what kind of candy thermometer you've got but mine is nowhere near precise enough to sous vide.  I have a polyscience unit at home but in my experience the best way to fake it at home with household items is like so:

 

Use heavy freezer bags to bag your food, get as much air out of the bag as possible.  There is a method to do with by submersing part of the bag at a time that makes this easier.

 

Fill a stock pot with water and get it on the heat.  Routinely stir it and take the temperature with an instant read.  For duck you're aiming a few degrees above 140 F.  When you get it there, pour your water into a cooler, throw in your bags, shut the lid and let it cook.  Duck breasts should take about a half hour.

post #10 of 10

I just made a simple roast duck... scored it with a sharp knife through all the fat and then poured boiled water over it. Emptied the water from the roasting pan. Put it on a rack and roasted it, flipping it. At then end of cooking I poured a little honey mixed with water and dried basil all over it. No salt or pepper because we shared it with my poodle (I know,).... it was great and nothing was left. Very easy and sometimes easy is good.

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