Hey there and welcome to another Hawley Crescent Blog. Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? We’re already three weeks into September, and October is just around the corner, which means Thanksgiving is fast approaching. As such, I think it’s only appropriate to begin talking about some of the various types of birds that will soon be working their way onto your dinner tables. We’ll kick things off with one of my absolute favourite foods: duck.

Though the idea of raising ducks for food might come off as strange to some people, humans have been raising ducks for at least 4000 years. In many cultures, particularly those in Asia, duck is still raised as a popular and widely consumed dish thanks to its unique favour for a poultry dish. In western culture, we enjoy duck as a high class treat.

One of the reasons duck has remained such a sought after food is its high nutritional value. To begin, a 3.5 serving of duck meat will provide approximately 58{a908f3cfa73a8de8bf6f2b96e240bb7c9d3f5bad987c2ee76ba0db26a64817a2} of the daily protein for adults. Duck meat also contains a fair amount of zink and selenium, which combine to provide you body with enzymes needed to keep up your cell’s metabolisms. On their own, zink boosts your immune system and selenium improves your thyroid gland, which produces proteins and hormones that regulate your body’s growth rate and organ functions. Finally, duck contains Vitamin B-5 and B-12, which both help to support the functions of your nervous system, as well as protecting your nerves from damage.

Despite all these benefits, many people tend to shy away from duck under the assumption that it’s a fatty food. The truth is, what fat a duck has is all in its skin. If you’re really concerned about your fat intake, cut the skin off before you begin cooking. If you want a little bit of the fatty flavour, then keep a small amount of skin on so that only a little fat will seep into the meat.

Duck is one of those beautiful foods that have a million and one ways it can be prepared. For this blog, I’ve chosen two equally beautiful recipes for roasted duck from food.com that are just begging to be tried out in the coming holidays. First up, here’s a recipe for duck breasts.

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Grilled Duck Breasts with Red Wine and Orange Sauce

http://www.food.com/recipe/grilled-duck-breasts-with-red-wine-and-orange-sauce-328864

Ingredients

Instructions: Red Wine and Orange Sauce

  • Combine the orange juice and honey in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of a syrup, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the wine, raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces by half (8 to 10 minutes). Add the chicken stock and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture reduces to a syrupy consistency, and there is about 1½ cups of liquid remaining (10 to 15 minutes).
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the pumpkin pie spice, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir to incorporate. Add the butter and gently swirl with a wooden spoon until incorporated and the sauce takes on a satiny gloss. Keep the sauce war, over very low heat.

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Duck Breasts

  • Using a sharp knife, carefully remove about one-third of the fatty skin from the surface of each breast. With the tip of the knife, score the fat with a crosshatch design, being careful not to cut through to the meat. Spread the oil evenly over the duck breasts, then sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture over each breast, a teaspoon on the fatty side and a teaspoon on the other side, and press the spices into the surfaces.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the skillet, lower the heat just a notch to medium-low and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the skin is crisply browned. Spoon out the excess fat from the pan as it is rendered. Turn the breasts and cook 3 to 4 minutes, until the meat on the opposite side is lightly browned. Transfer the breasts to a cutting board and set aside to rest for 5 minutes; they will continue to cook while resting.
  • Using a sharp carving knife, cut the duck breasts in half crosswise, then cut each half into ¼ inch slices. Divide among six warmed serving plates, arranging the slices fat side up. Spoon the sauce over the duck and serve.
  • Makes 6 servings.

 

And here’s a recipe for a whole duck if you’ve got a bigger crowd to feed.

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Cirus Rubbed Whole Duck

http://www.food.com/recipe/citrus-rubbed-whole-duck-320534

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Zest oranges and lemons and chop zest finely. Squeeze juice from oranges and lemons.
  • In a small bowl combine zest, juice, pepper and salt. Rub duck, inside and out, with all of the citrus-pepper mixture.
  • In a roasting pan set duck on a vertical roaster and cook about 2 ½ hours, or until well-browned and crispy.
  • Let rest, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes before carving.
  • Makes 4 servings