“Are you thinking some Peking duck action from Chinatown right now?”
So I get a call from a mate who lives down in Boston. Not a new mate, an old mate from my home town in Australia, we’ve known each other since we were kids. Him a couple years younger, my brothers age but he spent most of his growing up at our house and standing in front of our fridge. We did all the things boys in high school do, before moving on. After high school we took very different paths but we both traveled a lot and we just so happened to wind up in New England and call her home.
Now the pure coincidence that a childhood best friend from a dusty farming town in the middle of Australia is only a skip and jump away from me, both of us 10,000 miles from where we grew up…now that my friends very much gives me something to be thankful for.
Something I pull out each and every year since landing in America and throw in the “Thanksgiving hat” so to speak. This is no small thing and you’re probably wondering why I bring up Thanksgiving in June. See we as Australians don’t celebrate this day of giving thanks, no not at all, not in the very slightest. Not because we have better things to do or lack appreciation for what we have, simply because the Mayflower never arrived in Sydney harbor; no pilgrims on our doorstep. So as this thing of thanks is something I’m not entirely used to, I like to really save up a couple of things to be thankful for throughout the year and pull them out to throw in the Thanksgiving ring, show you all that I am up for the occasion.
Okay so waaaayyyy off topic, but I’m glad we shared that moment.
So as I was saying,
said mate (Wax) gives me a shout, “Hey I’m coming to the mountains!” Just so happens Wax is still playing Rugby and there is a tournament on ……… and that tournament just so happens to be In. My. Village.
What!? My wee mountain village of 1100 strong hosts a bloody Rugby tournament for all of New England? Holy crap how fecking awesome is that. Now I’ve got two things to be thankful for this year. Three if I count the wife.
Unfortunately I’m busy on the day which is a major bummer, doing all sorts of businessy business stuff a couple of hours away in Vermont, but I should be back in time I say, to catch him and the boys having a run in the afternoon. Bit of a round about story but this actually brings me to duck and this post.
Let me start by saying that duck is the first thing I’ll gravitate to while scrolling through a menu, always. I love this damn bird and it’s rich flavour and crispy skinned goodness. I don’t care if it comes Thai and curried, Chinese and crispy or French and confit. I love preparing it, serving it and eating it up. Such a versatile ingredient that always makes you look like a pro from starters to main course and even dessert, that’s right I said it. Duck fat caramels, yes it’s a thing!
You know what else I love, when I can pick up a pre-cooked bird bring it home and just throw it in the oven. Boom!
Are you thinking some Peking duck action from China town right now? That’s right, if you got yourself a Chinatown then you can roll with the pre-cooked bird action too! Do you see how the horizon of your whole world just opened up….. you are welcome.
So I’ll whack it in the oven, 20 minutes or a little more to crisp up the skin and I can get to playing with a sauce and a few accompaniments I want to serve.
So with an already full day and a mate in town, that’s just what I did.
Now you might call me a cheating bastard, but I simply wont allow any of that name calling stuff on this blog, prick.
- Precooked half duck (they are sold in a cryovac package)
- 1 orange sliced into thin rounds
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup of dry white wine
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ½ chicken broth
- 1½ cups orange juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs thyme
- pinch of peppercorns
- 2 star anise
- 1 stick cinammon
- 3 Tbs candied orange syrup (leftover after making candied oranges)
- Bring water sugar and wine to a boil, turn to low heat, add orange slices and simmer for 10 minutes turning once. allow oranges to cool in the syrup.
- Simmer all spices together with white wine in a saucepan on stove top until wine is reduced by half.
- Add orange juice and chicken broth and simmer on low heat until two thirds of sauce is reduced and quite thick.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain out spices. Return liquid to saucepan.
- Add frozen raspberries to saucepan and cook for a couple minutes on low heat until defrosted. Remove from pan and puree with either a food processor or blender.
- Strain raspberry sauce through fine mesh strainer to remove raspberry seeds and return sauce to saucepan.
- Add 3 tablespoons of your leftover candied orange syrup to raspberry sauce in saucepan and warm through to serve. (if you would like your sauce sweeter you can add another tablespoon of candied orange syrup if desired)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (the package says 375 degrees but we like our duck a bit more crispy)
- Remove duck from package and place on shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper
- Sprinkle salt on duck skin (it helps the skin get nice and crispy)
- Bake for 20 minutes