You can keep a secret, can’t you? Good. Then I’ll let you in on something. Just do me one favour, keep it under your hat and whatever you do, DON’T TELL THE WIFE. She’ll kill me. Anybody who knows me knows I am motivated by getting value. So when I saw nice looking 2 kilogram ducks in a local supermarket at a paltry €8 per duck, I had to get one.
With the bird secured, I got to contemplating the sauce. Orange? No. Been there, done that. Plum? No. Ditto. Redcurrant? Hmmmmm, that sounds nice and they have a lovely colour. Let’s go for it! So began the road to familial deception and an evening of half-truths and ducking the truth, if you will pardon the awful pun.
Part of the problem was that I left the sauce deliberations until pretty late in the day. So my foray into the world of available currants was confined to a particular supermarket without a reputation for delivering value. I selected the redcurrants (3 small packs) and brought them to the self service checkout….
Peep. (me scanning the first pack).
Fffffhhhhhhh. (my sharp intake of breath).
Peep. (second pack).
Urrrrrggggg. (second reaction).
Peep. (number three).
Parrrpppp (rude noise on seeing the total cost).
I brought them home and carefully laid them out along with the other (significantly less expensive) ingredients. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice a bottle of Frank Phelan amongst the ingredients. This was a gift from a good friend. So, I don’t count it when feeling the pain of overpaying. And, more importantly, I don’t have to justify it to the Wife.
The ingredients, in descending order of cost:
- 1 bottle of 2008 Frank Phelan (I assume it belongs at the top)
- 3 small packs of redcurrants (I know that they belong here)
- 1 two kilo duck
- 1 kilo of waxy, new season potatoes
- 2 satsumas
- 5 shallots
- 1 ‘thumb’ of ginger
- 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- A few sprigs of rosemary (entirely free, from the garden)
First thing to do is to heat the oven to 200° C. Then ensure that the duck will never fly again. Cut the tips off the wings. Then stab the duck all over with a sharp fork. This to allow the fat to render more easily.
Season the duck on the breast side, with plenty of salt and pepper.
Put it on a rack in a roasting tray. Place it in the oven for 45 minutes. Take it out and turn it over. Repeat the seasoning and return the duck to the oven for another 45 minutes. Take it out and pour off the collected fat.
Chop the potatoes into small chunks. Chop the rosemary. put the potatoes in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of duck fat, the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
Take the duck out and turn it again to leave it breast side up. Return it to the oven of a further 30 minutes. Put a roasting tray with three tablespoons of the reserved duck fat in the oven to heat until smoking. Take it out and add the potatoes. Toss to coat and return to the oven. They will take about 25 minutes.
While the potatoes are cooking and the duck is finishing, prepare the sauce. Add some olive oil to a saucepan.
When the oil is hot, add the ginger (previously sliced) and the shallots (ditto). Cook them over a low to medium heat to release their flavours. Add the redcurrants and sugar. Ignore or pretend not to hear any wifely enquiries about the source / cost of the redcurrants. When the wife leaves the room, add a glass of the wine.
Squeeze in the juice of the satsumas.
Heat until the redcurrants reduce and break open. The sauce will be nice and viscous by this time. Sieve it and place the precious liquid into a small (there won’t be a lot of it) jug. The duck should be cooked by this stage. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
There are plenty of videos online to guide the inexperienced duck carver. About this time, the potatoes are ready.
Carve the duck and serve to a very appreciative Wife.
I served this a couple of weeks ago. The Wife loved it. Hopefully, by the time she reads this, she will have fond memories of this fine sauce. Hopefully too, she will forgive me for spending so much on the redcurrants. Hopefully…