The best part of roasting a duck is that after enjoying it for dinner, there’s enough left over to flavor at least one, if not more, future meals.
I don’t mean that succulent breast meat. No, that goes quickly at our table. Rather, it’s efficient use of the carcass that expands the value of a locally raised duck.
I don’t use that phrase “locally raised” lightly. The ducks, chickens and turkeys I’ve purchased from local farmers tend to be more robust. That means after roasting a whole bird and serving the easy-to-carve portions, there’s still plenty of meat and flavor for another go. I return to the carcass to pick every edible scrap, and then put neck, wing tips, skin and bones into the stockpot.
Cookbooks and food sites are littered with stock recipes, and you’re welcome to follow one.
My approach is more free-form, however. I place the duck in a large stockpot, sometimes chopping it into easier-to-manage pieces and always being sure to first remove the lemons, herbs, onions or whatever else I’ve stuffed it with.
I then roughly chop a carrot, stalk of celery and onion half and add them to the pot. Next comes cold water — just enough to cover. That’s heated slowly to just before boiling; then I turn the heat down to very low and allow it to simmer for an hour or two, skimming any foam or fat that rises to the surface. After that, I strain the stock into a clean pan.
You can use the stock immediately or refrigerate it until cool so you can skim off any additional duck fat and save it for future use.
Ahh … yes, duck fat. The six-pound duck I roasted this week yielded about 1-1/2 cups of fat, which is excellent for roasting potatoes and other root vegetables. Food writer and blogger Hank Shaw also likes using duck fat for Hollandaise sauce and incrusts for pies, both sweet and savory
But back to the stock. How much you get depends on how much water you began with and long you allowed it to simmer. I usually have enough to both make a batch of duck risotto — my favorite follow-up dish — and freeze a quart or two for future.
What better way to extend a duck’s deliciousness?Duck Risotto
When it comes to risotto, I have to agree with food writer Mark Bittman: do not let it scare you. I’ve adapted hissimple take on the dish
to use as much leftover roast duck as I have and freshly made duck stock. If yours is a dairy-free household, sub good quality olive oil for the butter and omit the Parmesan.Makes 4 to 6 servings 4 to 6 cups duck stock 4 to 6 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil, to taste. 1 medium onion, minced 1-1/2 cups Arborio or other short- to medium-grain rice Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 cup dry white wine Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional) Leftover roasted duck, cut into bite-sized pieces
Warm stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and keep at a simmer. Put 2 tablespoons of the butter or oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. (Allow the remaining butter to soften while you cook.) When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is glossy and coated with butter or oil, 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper, then the white wine. Stir and let the liquid bubble away.
Use a ladle to begin to add the stock, 1/2 cup or so at a time, stirring after each addition and every minute or so. When the stock is just about evaporated, add more. The mixture should be neither soupy nor dry. Keep the heat medium to medium-high and stir frequently.
Begin tasting the rice 20 minutes after you add it; you want it to be tender but with still a tiny bit of crunch; it could take as long as 30 minutes to reach this stage. When it does, stir in the roasted duck, 2 to 4 tablespoons softened butter or oil and at least 1/2 cup of Parmesan, if using. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve immediately, passing additional Parmesan at the table if you like.
Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ life.wordpress.com .