January 15, 2012

Dark Days Roast Duck and Root Slaw

It's hard to put into words what raising your own animals for meat is like.  There is a sense of pride but also a weighty feeling of duty.  The excitement of fuzzy little ducklings and the annoying stink and mess as they take over your garage...the fun of seeing your kids chasing a big flock of ducks in your front yard and realizing this many animals eat a lot more food than the four birds you had before...the repeated discussions with your son and husband about how, "Yes, some of the birds are going to be for meat."  And then finally  butchering day comes.  Could I really do it?  Is it going to to be hard?  Is it going to be scary?

With four ducks and a rooster under my belt I personally have those questions answered and found it to be a rewarding experience.  I plan on getting more meat ducks again this year.  Maybe a little later this year so I can butcher in the fall instead of late summer and definitely a designated meat breed (Pekin or Muscovy) instead of the multi-purpose Buff ducks we got last year.  With our ducks I have made duck stock, duck confit, pan-seared duck breasts and just this weekend I roasted the one bird from the freezer that I left whole.  All of it was more delicious than anything store bought and I hope I did them justice.  Thank you to those ducks and all the animals that we use for food.  Also a huge THANK YOU to Joan and her son from Olds Farm.  They let me practice at their duck butchering and the experience was invaluable.

I used Roast Duck with Citrus Pan Sauce as a base recipe for my roast duck.  I stuffed the cavity with a Rennie Orchards apple and spiced the steaming water with just 1 tablespoon toasted coriander seeds along with 1 inch piece of sliced fresh ginger and 1/2 teaspoon cassia buds.  For the sauce I used the reserved steaming liquid and 1/2 cup verjus to deglaze the roasting pan then strained it to remove the spices.  To the strained reduction I added a diced apple, 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger and a pinch of dry mustard.  I cooked this until the apple was tender and served it on the side.  It was subtly spicy and tart to go with the rich duck. *A note of caution, be very careful when you prick the skin the second time, after steaming.  I was a little too enthusiastic and should have gone shallower with my pricks.

On the side, I made a root slaw similar in to this Super Red Slaw.  In it were julienned beet, carrot and turnip with a half of a red onion, thinly sliced.  To dress it I used Black Star Farms verjus, Eden Foods ume plum vinegar, salt, pepper, fresh grated organic ginger, and dried spearmint from my garden.  It was good but I prefer the version with cabbage.  The vegetables came from 9 Bean Rows and vendors of The Saturday Farmers Market at the Village.

Visit Not Dabbling In Normal on Sundays for the round up of Dark Days meals. You can also visit our coordinator at Unearthing this Life to see some of our Midwest group entres.  

The pot of gold at the end, duck fat!