Monday, July 30, 2012

Roast Duck: A Fine Partner for Mlinci

Roast duck was the entree for my Week 20 dinner.   But to my mind, it was mostly a vehicle for the mlinci, those intriguing baked noodles that turned out so much better than I imagined.

I decided on duck rather than chicken because it seemed more exotic.  I had never actually roasted a duck before.  In case you are in the same boat, here is how I did it.

There is nothing especially Slovenian about this way of roasting a duck.  I consulted a few standard American cookbooks to come up with this.  The main issue, as I understand it, is getting rid of some of the fat without letting the meat dry out.

A 5 lb duckling, fresh and organic
salt and pepper
other seasoning of choice

To prepare: Remove giblets.  Rinse, dry, and cut off excess fat.  Cut slits in the skin, at regular intervals, all over the duck.  Use a small sharp knife blade held just under the surface of the skin, and parallel to it. Coat the duck inside and out with a mixture of salt, pepper, and any other seasoning you desire.  (I used a Mediterranean seasoning mix prepared by our local spice shop.)

Put the duck, breast side down, on a rack in a rectangular roasting pan. Pour 1 inch of hot water in the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees, turn over, and bake for another 30 minutes or until done.   During baking, watch the water level and add more liquid if needed by pouring over the top of the duck.  If skin gets too brown, cover with foil.  Internal temperature should reach 175 degrees.

Remove to a cutting board and let cool before carving.

Save the drippings to coat your lovely homemade mlinci.

The verdict:  This turned out pretty well.  My husband pointed out that the breast and legs require different baking times, so roasting a whole bird isn't the most practical approach.

But my feeling is that a whole roast duck is much more festive.  And it's a better partner to the mlinci.

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