COOKING DUCK BREAST

DUCK - I used to breed them, so now it is a bit odd to eat them!

They are beautiful creatures, but then again if you think this way, we would all be vegetarians!

Many people just love duck and some, of course, do not like it.  I think there is an art to cooking it, and I have cooked it over the years many way.

One of my favourite meals, when I eat out is Peking Duck and you can read about some of the restaurants I have tried at this link, or this link.

When done correctly, duck can be tender and delicious, however getting it right is not so easy.

The latest way I am doing it is in slow oven, and baking it for longer than normal.  Getting the skin crisp is an art that I sometimes achieve and sometimes not.  I have even bought an Asian speciality to make the skin look like it does in the photos on the above links, however it was difficult to work with, went a nice colour but was still not crisp.

One good way to bake duck is in a clear bag that is freely available at supermarkets.  Duck makes quite a mess when cooking as it contains a lot of fat.  However I always score, or just prick with a fork, the skin before cooking a whole duck.

I have tried to make Peking Duck at home but my pancakes which were home made, were too thick.  Next time I attempt it, I will buy ready bought duck wrapping pancakes as you can now buy these in some stores.

I usually do roast vegetables when I cook a duck, as they are delicious when cooked in the duck fat that a duck gives out.  I also keep this as you can cook again with it if you want to make the most delicious roast potatoes and other vegetables.  It is not a healthy thing to eat, however once in a while, I still eat it.

The fat and natural gravy is also delicious heated up. and dipping bread into it!  That is also one of my favourites but for this you use the natural gravy that forms under the hard white fat after it has been in the fridge for some time.

Anyway, this recipe is not supposed to be about how to cook a whole duck!

I was lazy one day while shopping online, and noticed that two servings of duck breast was on special for half price, so I decided to try it.

It did not look very appetizing as the meat is an odd dark colour, however I never shun a food till I have tasted it.

The instructions were clearly on the packet, and although I thought they were a bit strange, as they said to fry the duck first, before putting in the oven, I decided to do it correctly.

It turned out beautiful - very tender, and I believe the secret might be not to overcook duck, as with most meat and poultry.  They dry out if you overcook them.

So, if you live in Australia, it was the "Luv-a-Duck" packet pictured further down, that I bought.
This is quite an expensive way to buy duck if it is not on special as a whole duck costs just a bit more than the marked price on this one.  But remember, I bought it at half the price.  It is still quite expensive however, I wanted to try it.

And here is the finished product which I served with a bit of lettuce and tomato with a simple, home made dressing on it - olive oil, mustard and Balsamic vinegar.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2
Cooking Time: About 40 minutes

Ingredients
1 packet duck breast

potatoes, cut into pieces of your choice
Vegetables of choice, or salad

Instructions
Par cook the potatoes in the microwave, boil or steam them till they are just starting to go soft. I left them partly with the skins on.

Cook the duck breasts, with the skin side facing down, on a medium to high heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.  Turn them over the cook them for another 5 minutes, or until the meat is no longer pink.  I always cover stir fry food to stop the mess on my hot plates (have you noticed I am lazy?)

Meanwhile pre heat the oven to 190°/170° if your oven is fan forced.  Put a bit of the fat that has come out from the duck while frying, into a casserole or small baking dish.

Put the potatoes in and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the duck breasts and cook for 25 minutes.

Turn both the potato and the duck over and cook for another 10 or so minutes.  Test to see if the meat is cooked by cutting into a bit - it should still be a bit pink in the middle for it to be nice and tender.

If it is not done, put it back and cook till it is done, and the potatoes should be browning by now also.

While this is cooking, prepare your salad so that it is ready when you serve the duck.

The next day, I heated it up for a short time in the oven, and had it with plain broccoli.

There you have it!  No carving, not really much work, and any beginner can make this into a lovely meal.  If you are a large eater however, this will only be enough for one person as the duck breasts are not all that big.

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