The New Year is just around the corner, and every hostess probably wondered how to surprise her loved ones on New Year's Eve. Baked duck is a great dish that can be a decoration for any holiday table.
How to prepare the duck for baking
When buying a duck, be sure to pay attention to its weight - the ideal weight is two to two and a half pounds. In such a duck will be a lot of meat and not much fat. A heavier duck carcass indicates that the bird is old.
The carcass should thaw in natural conditions - in no case in the microwave or in hot water, so the meat will turn out dry. For roasting, we take the biggest baking sheet - so that the duck fits all.
Now that the bird is ready for roasting, it remains to do the most important thing - to find the right spices. It is recommended to rub the duck with them and leave the meat to “reach” for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator.
What spices are suitable for baked duck
The choice of spices should be considered carefully, since the taste and aroma of the finished dish will depend on them. Properly selected seasonings activate the body's metabolism and help to better digest and absorb fatty foods.
There is only one spice that is categorically not combined with duck and any other game - this is zira. All other seasonings and herbs, selected in the optimal amount, will help to emphasize the taste of baked duck. The main thing is to know well what taste each spice adds and to strictly follow the proportions. The most popular seasonings for duck are red and black pepper, bay leaf, juniper, lemon, grated garlic and, of course, salt. With this simple set of spices you can cook a wonderful baked bird with a crispy crust.
In addition to the classic seasonings, cumin is well combined with duck (it must be pounded in a mortar), dill, basil, thyme, coriander (in very moderate quantities), oregano, cardamom and cinnamon. No need to apply all the spices at once, choose one or two to your liking.
You can add a vanilla pod - you get an original dish with a mild flavor.
Honey is an excellent seasoning for duck. All selected spices are added to honey, including crushed garlic (if you like the taste of garlic in ready-made food), and this mixture is rubbed with a thin layer of the whole carcass. When baking, you get a tasty and beautiful golden crust.
If only honey is used, without seasoning, then the carcass is rubbed only from the inside, as honey may be slightly bitter when exposed to high temperatures.
For the famous Peking Duck, it will be necessary to take in equal parts ground cinnamon, cloves, anise, dill seeds and Sichuan pepper, bay leaf, and soy sauce.
And do not forget that the duck can also be stuffed! Anything can be used as a filling - apples, pears, buckwheat, tangerines, couscous, rice, prunes and much more.
Sauces and marinades for duck
The best sauce can be prepared from the juice that will flow when baking. This sauce is already filled with aromas of spices, which rubbed the carcass. For the sauce, lightly fried onions, carrots and celery, a little anise, honey and red wine are added to it. When the wine is evaporated, add duck juice, a little water, salt, sugar and pepper to taste - and everything, fragrant duck sauce is ready.
Marinade for duck will make the meat unusually tender and soft. There are many recipes for marinade, but there are several ingredients that are used almost always. These are spices such as mustard, horseradish, garlic, salt, bay leaf, honey, curry powder, cloves, vinegar and lemon.
In supermarkets and spice dealers in the market, you can buy ready-made spice mixes, but it is still better to get your own “authoring” mix that will become your trademark secret. Believe me, no spice will be superfluous in your kitchen, sooner or later it will definitely come in handy.