Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday roast with a twist... Balsamic Roast Duck with Roast Potato Batons and Sauteed Scallions

It's always been a bit daunting to me to cook a roast. Whilst my roasts turn out okay, they're never the amazing things i get in restaurants or at family dinners, which have that ability to make you feel warm inside. Maybe part of it is having the company... this is not as soppy as it might sound! I have heard several chefs say that making a roast for one is pointless... the actual concept of roasting requires a large cut of meat to work effectively. So this Sunday roast is a bit of a cheats one... it will serve 2, and the 'roasting' process only takes 15 minutes. 

A note on balsamic vinegar: I am not a wine nazi. A $10 bottle of red will do me just as fine as a $100 bottle. However, balsamic vinegar, like a good olive oil, is worth the investment. I suggest you keep 2 bottles on hand if you can; go the cheapie for adding to sauces, or for a reduction. But do buy a decent bottle to use sparingly as a salad dressing, or as in this case, when it is the only ingredient in a sauce and you only need a little. You will thank you for it!

Another note: it might seem a lot to use a whole duck for 2 people. But plan ahead, and you will also get about 2/3 a cup of duck fat which is amazing for roast potatoes, and you can also boil the carcas which will have a fair amount of meat still on it to make a delicious duck stock, brilliant for Asian soups. 

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 whole duckling
  • 2 large potatoes
  • Sea Salt 
  • About 8 shallots
  • 2 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp duck fat ** see below


Preheat oven to 245 degrees. 
Slice the potatoes into large batons.
Toss with the duck fat and lay onto a lined baking tray.
Sprinkle with salt and transfer to oven.
After 15 minutes, turn the batons and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes or until golden.
Carve the breasts, and legs off the duck, making sure the skin is still attached.
Season the skin with sea salt.
Fry, skin side down in a large frying pan for 3-4 minutes.
Drain off the oil and transfer the frying pan, with duck still skin side down, to the oven.
The breast will cook in 5-8 minutes and the leg will take 10-15 minutes. It should be pinkish on the inside.
When cooked, remove the duck pieces and leave to rest.
Slice the scallions into long pieces
In the same frying pan as the duck was in, saute the scallions for 3-4 minutes and transfer to drain on paper towel.
Slice the duck breast and transfer with potatoes, duck leg and scallions to a plate.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

To get the duck fat:

From the same duck that we removed the breasts and legs from, get as much of the skin and fat as possible and transfer to a small saucepan.
Add 1/2 cup water and simmer on low heat until the fat renders out of the duck and most of the water has evaporated.
Strain and refrigerate until ready to use.

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