Roast Duck Straight from the Farm

One of the biggest draws in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, Cultus Lake Provincial Park.

After a super busy Sunday that included putting in an extra three hours prepping for the coming week of teaching (and not even getting to my pile of marking that’s backing up), as well as cooking a rustic roast duck dinner with all the fixings and even attempting to clean the house for the sake of a dinner guest, I am simply drained. But, it’s a good sort of drained. I feel accomplished, which is something I can’t always say for a Sunday afternoon.

Farm Store
What’s better than buying directly from the source, especially when it’s fresh instead of frozen, and at a fraction of the price? Absolutely nothing.

Yesterday afternoon, the idea for tonight’s dinner sparked in my wife’s brain. We’d gone for a walk around one of the big draws in our local area, a gorgeous body of water called Cultus Lake, and we were just heading back to the car. Not wanting to return home right away, she suggested we take a little drive to pick up something tasty: a duck from Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry’s Farm Store.

I’d been to the store once before to purchase a duck, but my wife hadn’t yet had the pleasure. In addition to purchasing a fresh five pound duck for only $15 (a steal compared to the $35-$40 price tag the same birds command in Vancouver, frozen), we also picked up some apple cider, farmer sausage, and organic chicken breasts (used last night, to be blogged about in the very near future).

In case you’ve never worked with duck before, know that it’s very easy to prepare. The steps I took are as follows:

  • After removing the neck, gizzards, and liver, I placed the bird in a large pot just to rinse it.
  • Then, resting it on a rack placed in a roasting pan, I rubbed it with a mixture that was two parts salt, two parts Hungarian paprika, and one part ground pepper.
  • Once the oven reached 350°F, the duck was tossed in on the roasting pan.
  • After about an hour, I spooned 1/4 cup of melted butter over the bird
  • After another 45 minutes, I spooned another 1/4 cup of butter over it. At that time, I also used a baster to remove some fluids from the cavity of the bird, and basted some of the drippings over it.
  • The oven was then increased in temperature slightly (to 375°F) to accommodate the veggies I was adding on the rack below (as well as to compensate for the time the duck spent being basted instead of cooking).
  • After 2 1/2 hours in the oven, I removed the duck and let it rest, covered in tin foil, for about 20 minutes while I completed the rest of the meal.

The final product was cooked beautifully. Duck is quite fatty, but this bird seemed to be a bit leaner than my first. I think I cooked it slightly more this time, allowing more of the fat to render.

Sunday Roast Duck Dinner 003
Rinsed, Rubbed, and Ready for Roasting. My wife doesn’t exactly find this picture appealing; I’m waiting for her to discover the neck being stored in the fridge.
Sunday Roast Duck Dinner 006
2 1/2 hours later, I’m struggling to take an overhead shot without the camera lens fogging up entirely.
Sunday Roast Duck Dinner 007
Any chance I can get to use my favourite gravy boat, I take it. I think this is the tastiest concoction this vessel has held so far.

The roasted duck was served alongside roasted veggies (carrots, parsnips and potatoes) and Yorkshire puddings (both recipes coming from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution), and gravy. Actually, the gravy was just me playing around with a few different ingredients (butter, flour, white wine, some duck drippings, pepper, and a healthy dose of organic chicken broth), but the final result was massively encouraging. Am I actually getting to where I can play around with ingredients without consulting a recipe, and work them to the point that I achieve something edible, somewhat resembling that which I set out to make? It makes me think that maybe I am…maybe I am…

Sunday Roast Duck Dinner 012
Instead of carving, I took Jamie Oliver’s advice and simply started pulling pieces off the bird with a pair of tongs. I think it goes with the rustic feel of the veggies.
Sunday Roast Duck Dinner 014
Yeah, I have to say, tonight was a great night…

Anyways, I hope your weekend was even half as productive as mine. But now, it’s time for bed. It’s time to recharge for another long week of teaching tomorrow’s future leaders…and followers. Until next time, happy cooking!


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