A few weeks ago, my brother and his girlfriend Eloise popped down to visit for 2 nights on their way through to Canberra. We had promised them, that in their honour, we would slaughter one of our birds for dinner. Being as they are somewhat partial to duck, and we had 2 drakes, we decided duck it is! Steve and I are both members of a food forum and are quite passionate not only about what we eat, but the preparation as well, so we decided to document the process from duck pen to plate. There are some photos of a beheaded duck, so if you don't like that sort of thing, now would be a good time to click to another page. If you truly love good honest food, and appreciate where it comes from, then read on!
The duck of choice was Frank, the one in the foreground. Why you say? Well, for one, the other drake is much larger and better looking, so if we ever want to sell or swap, he would be a better choice. Also, poor old Frank hurt his leg 2 days earlier and was hobbling around, so we may have had to put him down anyway.
Hubby is in charge of "Catch and Dispatch", so he took Steve outside as his trusty assistant. I'm not sure how much help he was though, because he managed to take quite a few photos during the process!
Once the "deed" was done, they brought the duck inside where I had filled one sink with boiling water and a few drops of detergent. We dunked the duck a couple of times (the hot water and detergent help dissolve the fat that holds the feathers in and keeps the duck waterproof),
then Eloise and I set about plucking the duck (and yes I must admit, the old Hey Hey It's Saturday Plucka Duck song was going through my head at the time) while Steve took some more photos.
I was beginning to notice that our city boy was taking lots of photos of EVERYONE ELSE doing all the work, and so far had managed to avoid getting his hands dirty all together! Ha ha says I to myself, I know just the job for him!
When we had finished plucking, I handed the duck and a sharp knife to Steve and said "here you go, you're turn to do something." I figured he could get the gizzards out (at this stage I knew how much they smell, but he didn't).
He was pretty keen to get in to the action, to be fair, until that waft came out and went straight up his nose. "Oh, don't they smell like that when you buy them from the shop" I giggle!
Anyway to be fair, he did a good job (despite the wrinkled up nose and funny look on his face - where was the camera then eh???), we kept the liver for the sauce and gave the remainder of the giblets to Chloe our trusty dog.
Waste not want not! Next job was to clean out the cavity and rinse the bird thoroughly.
Back inside, and the duck was plunged into a large pot of boiling water, this is to open all the pores to allow the fat to ooze out during the cooking process and provide maximum crispiness to the skin.
After a few minutes, we took it out, and dried it off thoroughly with the hair dryer (and people reckon I never use it! Meh! Although I must admit I did send the hair dryer photo to my hairdresser! Hee hee hee!!!)
Next stage was to season the duck with salt and pepper, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil, and place it on a bed of chopped veggies, whole garlic cloves and various herbs from the garden.
Then in to the oven it went. No, not your standard gas or electric oven, in to the wood fired oven! Yum yum yum!
When the duck was cooked, we put some bread rolls in to cook while the meat rested (and yes, a few smirky comments were made about me having "buns in the oven"), and quickly made up the liver sauce to pour on top, eh voila.....
Roast Duck Nana Glen style! Is Yumalicious a word? If not, it should be, because that is what this dinner was!
If you liked these photos, you can see more of Steve's awesome pics on his Flickr page here.