Usually, I consider myself a pretty good cook. I’m not really afraid to try new recipes and so far I’ve never really screwed up. But last Saturday, I actually was worried. I had invited five friends for a Christmas dinner party and had told them that I would be serving duck. I have no idea, how I got that idea. The night before I even said to one of them: “Well”¦I guess we can always order pizza?” Her answer: “Oh, I’m not worried. There are loads of good take-out places where you live.” Thanks, A.
My duck adventure started with buying a duck. I circled the freezers in the supermarket several times and after calling my mum, I settled on Oscar. A 3.8kg duck.
At 2pm on Saturday, Oscar was defrosted and had room temperature ““ just as the recipe said. For several minutes I just looked at the naked dead duck in front of me. And the only thing I could think of was: “EW! DON’T want to touch that!”
Dead animals really shouldn’t bother me. I spent all my childhood summers on my grandma’s farm and my dad was a forester and hunter. I’ve seen all kinds of dead animals all the time. I never had a problem with that. But I also never had to put my hand inside of a dead animal.
After I had looked at Oscar for a while, I picked him up. I turned him around and upside down. I know I would have to put my hand in there. I needed to get the little plastic bag with the intestines out. I managed that with just my thumb and index finger. Then I was stuck again. There were some bits and pieces that I wasn’t sure about. So obviously I called mum. She was put on speaker and guided me through. In the end, everything that needed to be gone, was gone ““ including quite a bit of fat.
Yeah, not the prettiest sight (it’ll get worse). And here is the proof that I put my hand in there. Several times even:
After that, Oscar was washed with clear water ““ inside and out ““ and was ready to be stuffed:
Yes, this is a picture from the inside. I’m sure you all want to see that at least once in your life. I stuffed Oscar with a lot of parsley, 20 cloves of garlic and 50g of butter.
After that, I closed him up and rubbed him with olive oil. Now he was ready for the oven:
The oven was pre-heated to 220°C and Oscar spent 30min like that, before I reduced the time to 160°C. He stayed in there for another 3.5 hours. Every now and then, I pricked the skin with a needle, so that the fat could get out. This is what he looked like, when he was done:
And what did I serve with the duck? I made a baby leaf salad with cucumber, bell peppers, pear, blue cheese and an olive oil-mustard-honey-white balsamic-dressing; roasted mushrooms, onions, potatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes, bread and olives. And a lot of wine.
It really turned out well ““ I’m glad I picked a very simple, yet tasty recipe! My guests were happy and I was happy (and I’m sure the strawberry daiquiris, my friend made for dessert helped as well). In the end, preparing a duck was ok. I now know that I can do it. But if I ever make it again, I’ll still say “ew” a hundred times during the process!