As both Nate and I had to work all of Thanksgiving weekend, we were not going to go anywhere for the Thanksgiving celebration. Knowing this, I decided to be adventurous and try and roast a duck for dinner. I figured that as a duck is smaller than a turkey, it would be just enough for the two of us. And, as I'd never cooked duck before, I decided to go to the authority on such things, Julia Child. This recipe is from Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and in English means, Casserole-roasted Duck with Turnips.
Caneton Poele aux Navets
1-5.5lb duckling, ready to cook
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 T rendered fresh pork fat or cooking oil (I went with the oil)
1 very large casserole, ovenproof and stoveproof
Preheat oven to 350deg. Season the inside of the duck with salt and pepper, truss it, and preick th eskin around the thighs, back and lower part of the breast. Dry thoroughly. Brown slowly on all sides in hot fat in the casserole. Pour out the browning fat.
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium herb bouquet - 4 springs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme tied in cheesecloth.
Salt the duck and place breast side up in the casserole. Add the herb bouquet, cover the hot casserole and place it in the middle level of the oven. Roast for 50-60min regulating heat so the duck is always baking quiet cooking noises.
While duck is cooking, prepare the turnips; peel and cut into 3/4inch dice. Drop into boiling, salted water and boil slowly for 5min. Drain.
After duck has roasted for 50-60min, degrease the casserole with a bulb baster. Arrange the turnips around the duck, cover the casserole and return it to the oven. Baste turnips occasionally with juice in the casserole. Cook duck for another 30-40min.
2-3T minced parsley
Drain duck, and place on hot platter. Remove turnips with a slotted spoon and arrange around duck. Sprinkle with parsley. Degrease cooking juices and serve as gravy.
The amount of prep time took about the same amount as cooking a turkey, but resulted in a smaller scale dinner. The duck had good flavor, but we both agreed that the turnips could've had additional seasoning. There was definitely enough for leftovers. I think if I did this again, I'd try out some different seasonings.