Friday nights mean cooking. And not just any cooking; something fancy, filling and fun. Often, for me at least, this means a roast--something you put into the oven and don't remove until it's become something completely different. Kind of like magic, no?
Why do Friday nights require this magic, you might ask? Two reasons. First--the Boy has started his second year of law school, so he has classes during the week and Friday nights he has no homework but, instead, can lounge around lazily and then (hopefully!) help me with the dishes. Second--Friday night is when Shabbos begins and, even though I usually have to work on Saturdays, I like to at least rest Friday nights and celebrate the weekly holiday with some kind of special meal. Traditionally Shabbos dinner means meat but, just as often, we serve fish. As far as I'm concerned, as long as it feels special, and there's a good bottle of wine, you're set.
Last Friday, I was off from work and decided to roast a whole duck which, I knew, takes a long time. In France, I fell in love with Magret de canard au miel, duck breast with honey, and have not yet been able to re-create that. So, instead, I basted my roasting whole duck with a honey sauce and it came out deliciously. I used a rather strong honey to stand up to the rich, dark duck meat. Next time, I would use even more sauce.
Canard roti au miel
Leaves of 2 stalks Basil, roughly torn
1 teaspoon Ginger Root, roughly chopped
2 pinches Kosher Salt, or to taste
1/4 cup strong, dark Honey (I used a Miel des Garrigues, from France)
1/4 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/8 cup Orange Juice
Juice from 1/2 Lemon
1 pinch dry Mustard
1 whole Duck, giblets removed
Pre-heat oven to 400 F. In mortar and pestle, pound together Basil, Ginger and Salt until pasty. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together Honey, Butter, Orange Juice, Lemon Juice and Mustard until Butter is melted and ingredients well-combined. Boil for about 3 minutes. Clean out cavity of Duck and pat dry with paper towels. If desired, cut/tear off any excess fat from carcass, even pulling out some of the fat under the skin with your fingers. Prick outside of Duck all over with a sharp knife. This will help drain the fat as the Duck cooks. Rub Basil mixture evenly into cavity.
Place Duck in roasting pan, breast-side up, preferably with a rack so the juices and fat can drip down as the Duck cooks. Pour half of Honey mixture over Duck, reserving the rest. Cover with tinfoil and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F, turn Duck breast-side down, spoon on more Honey, re-cover and roast, basting every half-hour with the honey, for 2 hours. Uncover, turn Duck breast-side up, pour on remaining Honey and roast for 30 minutes. This allows the skin to brown and become crisp.
Allow to rest before carving.
Food and Cooking and Recipe and Duck and Meat