I have been working on this recipe for years, and I finally have it where I want it. It’s go to on Christmas and Good Friday now.
Simple enough. Dry the duck, salt the cavity, and then stuff it up the butt with a quartered naval orange and a quartered Meyer lemon. Cook for thirty minutes at 425 degrees F, and another ninety minutes at 375 degrees F. Before cooking, cut another orange in half, and squeeze the juice of one half of over the bird. After an hour, do the same thing with the other half. A roasting rack helps. Give it the thigh joint prick test after two hours, but it should be done by then.
Orange Wine Sauce
The key to this sauce is to reduce it down to a syrup, or even a jelly. Think lamb with mint jelly, and you have the idea.
Juice of two Naval Oranges
Red Wine to taste
1 tablespoon of Honey
1 teaspoon of Sugar
1 teaspoon of Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
Naturally, you can make this as sweet and sour as you want, with more sugar and more vinegar. Our menu for today is brick oven pizza, and for Easter Sunday, ham and macs and cheese, naturally. It doesn’t get much more Southern than that.
Once again on the subject of I wish I could make this stuff up, the French Senate has just finalized a law saying that country chickens can crow and cluck as much as they want to. “Neo-Rurals,” aka rich people who buy country vacation homes, have filed a number of lawsuits regarding chickens, ducks, and geese, who disrupted their bourgeois lives. No more.
The final straw, so to speak, was a rooster named Maurice. The saucy fellow would crow every morning at dawn, and in 2019, his owners were sued because of the noise–a kind of disturbing the peace, of the chicken variety. Maurice became a celebrity chicken, with petitions signed to support him. Go Mo!
Once again, the great journalists at Agence France Presse are on this like a chicken on a June bug, as we say here in the South. Here’s a quote from them:
“Living in the countryside implies accepting some nuisances,” Joel Giraud, the government’s minister in charge of rural life, told lawmakers.
Agence France Presse
The French have a Minister for Rural Life? I want that job. Until I get it, I will just feed my chickens.
We munched on our enormous Christmas duck for three days, and I turned the carcass into my favorite, duck stock. That made some serious Creole Onion Soup. Making stock, unlike pimping, is easy.
One dismembered Body, of Poultry or other Beast
One Onion, cut into quarters
Head of Garlic, halved crossways (kreuzweise)
One stem of Celery
Salt, Pepper, and Herbs
Water to cover
That’s it. I like to fry the Duck bits to start rendering out the fat, and to make the stock a little brown, before I add the other ingredients. I use even the onion and garlic skins, which is a crime to some people, but they add even more flavor, and make me feel even more like a skinflint. And with the Duck, there is also this–Duck fat skimmed off the top of the stock.
Though I am not a fat animal, I am a firm believer in animal fat, as it is usually wasted by most cooks. Duck fat is among the best, and most domestic ducks have plenty of it. It adds great flavor to any dish.
Cook the stock for as long as you want. I just put mine in a giant stockpot, and go off and do something else, and forget about it. Three hours later, the magic has happened–I have stock, which can be frozen or put in the fridge. It’s the best investment in stock you can make, with the exception of the time when I could have bought Apple stock for $1 a share. Now there is a sad story.