Ducking good fare: Why duck should be on your next dinner party menu

Duck
Duck should be a staple to impress at your next dinner party, Kathy Guard says. Photo credit: Getty

With duck shooting season underway, Kiwis may find themselves with a different kind of poultry on their plate this season.

Kathy Guard, Canter Valley, producer of Quality Gourmet Poultry Products told RadioLIVE's Home & Garden show on Sunday that there's certainly more duck around lately "and we can thank our celebrity chefs for that".

Places like Moore Wilsons and Farro stock the gamey meat, but for those confused on how to cook it, there are a few different ways.   

Guard says duck nibbles, (the first and second joint of the duck leg) are a tasty option. "They're a much cheaper cut and you can confit them (cook them slowly in oil) as an entrée or have them in a little pile as part of your main meal," she explained.

Meanwhile she recommends that to cook the breast, it's best if you score the skin - being careful to not go below the skin layer - and place on a hot plate. Cook it skin side down for about 5-7 minutes then turn over and cook other side for five minutes. Then put metal handled fry pan into oven at about 170 for about 5 minutes.

Guard says that in cooking the meat, not to be afraid of a blush pink colouring. "It's different from other poultry  treat it more like a steak beautifully pink inside," she said.

"It's a wonderful meal."

As you can imagine, for Guard duck is a staple. "We always have duck legs in the fridge in case someone pops in and we need to impress because they certainly do that"

And don't get confused between pekin and peking ducks: one is the popular breed of farmed poultry, and one is the style of cooking duck in Asian flavours.

A duck recipe to impress at your next dinner party, courtesy of our friends at RadioLIVE:

Recipe: Duck and Pork Cassoulet

Serves: 8

Ingredients: 

  • 8 duck legs
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil or duck fat
  • 400 g pork slices, finely chopped
  • 8 Toulouse sausages, diced into 2cm thick slices
  • 6 chorizo sausages, sliced as above
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 400 g cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 x 400 g cans cannelini beans
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley

Method: 

Preheat oven to 130 C.

Rub duck legs with sea salt and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Completely cover with oil or fat and cook for 2 hours. Check during cooking and if oil is bubbling then reduce heat until oil is at a gentle simmer.

Leave duck to cool in the oil and then refrigerate until required.

These can be done a day or two in advance.

Heat a large frying pan and cook pork and sausages until golden brown. Reduce heat and onion, garlic, carrot, celery and thyme. Allow to cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Transfer ingredients to a large casserole and add tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaf as well as 2 cups water.

Drain cannelini beans and add to the casserole. Cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/4 hours, stir occasionally during cooking.

10 minutes prior to serving heat grill, remove duck from oil and place on a rack on a rack over a roasting dish, grill until skin is crisp and bubbling. Serve cassoulet in bowls, scatter with parsley and top with a duck leg.

Serve with crusty bread.

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