Ducky Deconstruction

Or … how to deal with a messy, uncrispy duck might be another title.  It wasn’t supposed to have been that way.  I have prepared duck using this technique many times and the result has always silly-grin on people’s face pleasing.  I had read about this technique as far ago as last century,  probably in the mid 1990s.  In a magazine article.  The easiest way to cook duck is to – wait for it – boil it first!


The duck is simmered for about an hour in plenty of water and then drained.  It’s surprising how much fat transfers from the duck to the cooking water.  And yet ducks are so fatty in and of themselves that the prior boiling does not dry them out when it comes to roasting them.  The result is genius! Crispy skin on the outside and tender, moist flesh within, not to mention very little fuss overall.

2-23I decided I would stuff the  boiled duck with one presimmon, one orange and a couple of bayleaves.

4I dribbled a bit of persimmon over the duck and dribbled a bit of olive oil too – and then the usual : salt and pepper.

The oven was already preheated at 200°C.


About 35 minutes later, I took the duck out of the oven, rolled it on to the other side and squeezed some fresh orange juice into the roasting pain.  Back in the oven again for another 30 minutes or so (i.e. roast for about 1 hour).


It looked good … well, on this side at least.

12Not quite so appealing on the other side.  Sigh.  Hopes dashed and duck dilemma begins. It was all about the consistency of the skin – normally it is ingratiatingly crispy, this time it was ever so slightly on the soggy side, that is: it WAS cooked but it wasn’t crispy cooked.  How very disappointing.  What to do? Wash greasy fingers, dry fingers and then a bit of soul-searching head-scratching for a solution.

13Mental light bulb switches on! Deconstruct the duck, that’s what.  Prise the flesh from the carcass and present it that way …

14I used two spoons.

15aAnd this was what was left – not to be thrown away, but to make a hearty soup, the next day!

1617Pour all the juices onto the duck.

18And all’s well that ends well and, all things considered,  a lot easier to serve too.  We had some pan fried artichokes to accompany this dish; some plain rice would have complemented it too.

Note to self for next time: the duck must  be roasted in a VERY hot oven: 250°C as opposed to the 200°C – and that would have given us the the crisp I was clamouring after.

20And these bright little things did a good job – their nuance in the final count added a pleasant sweetness to curb the gameyness of the duck.

4 thoughts on “Ducky Deconstruction

  1. Love the idea of boiling it first…makes sense. I have all the Hagan;s round Saturday night and am doing duck….ready bought confit de canard. Shhhhh! xxx


  2. You probably know the Chinese method where they pour boiling water over ducky and then let it dry, I think for 24 hours? I think most people who say they don’t like duck have never had it roasted properly. I have used J. Child’s method for roasting and also done on a BBQ with a spit. Of course…you need a big drip pan to catch all the fat! All that said…whew…your method looks interesting! BTW…I love Chinese roast duck…it’s the star anise I think!


  3. I love how you share your food experiments with us, Jo, whether they worked well or not. I have to say I haven’t tried my hand at making duck at home in years. But I do love it so. Usually I roast it dry in a rack so it doesn’t sit in its own rendered fat, all the while jealously scooping up the fat so use later. It makes a fantastic cooking medium, as I’m sure you know.


    1. I just love duck fat for roasting potatoes – but that doesn’t happen very often in my kitchen. Not a lot of duck to be found easily in the Rome area, funny hey, I have to order it from my butcher(s). Love the sound of your roast duck and the delicious ‘drippingis’, yum!


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