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Mighty duck to save the day!

Posted by Jeanne on November 11, 2009

I have an issue with impulse purchases at the grocery store.  Also, I am very suggestible.

On Friday, Naomi suggested that I buy a duck.  So I bought one.

Isn’t he cute?


(Note:  this post may be inappropriate for those who do not believe in eating animals, or who prefer to believe animal products grow in styrofoam containers at the store.  Conduct yourself accordingly.)

Mighty Duck, based on this recipe from Alton Brown


* 1/2 cup salt (he recommends kosher – I used sea salt because that’s all we had)

* 1 pint (2 cups) orange juice

* 15 whole black peppercorns

* 1 bunch fresh thyme

* 4 cloves garlic, smashed

Duck + final sides:

* 1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) frozen Long Island Duck, thawed

* 2 to 3 cups shredded chard

* 2 to 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced

* Salt & pepper


Combine all brine ingredients in a plastic zipper bag. Close the bag and shake to dissolve the salt.


(Placing the bag in a 70’s bowl optional).

Remove the pop-up thermometer, liver, gizzards, and heart from the duck. Cut off the wings.

Using kitchen shears, locate the spine at the base of the neck. Cut up the line of the backbone towards the neck cavity.


First cut

Turn the duck and cut straight towards the rear cavity. Remove the backbone.  (Also optional at this point:  debate about whether you should have changed your shirt when you came home from work over lunch to do this.  Includes cursing about the possibility of duck goo on self and sweater.)

Turn the duck over and cut straight down the middle of the breast bone, leaving 2 equal duck halves. To separate the legs from the breast, flip your halves over so the flesh side is facing up at you. Using a knife, make a crescent shape cut between the leg and the breast. Lay your knife flat against the skin and create slits in the skin. Make sure that you are cutting through the skin and not the meat.


Line the inside of a plastic lexan or a pot with a zip-top bag. Place the duck quarters inside the bag of brine.  Seal the bag, ensuring that all air is removed from the bag. Brine the duck for 2 to 2 1/2 hours in the refrigerator (I brined the duck for about 4.5 hours, because sadly my afternoons at work are longer than 2.5 hours.  It was fine.).

Bring 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches of water to a boil in a large pot. Place a colander into the pot and line the sides of the colander with the duck. (I used the pasta pot with the drainer insert.)  Do not stack the duck quarters on each other. Cover and turn the heat to medium low. Steam the duck for 45 minutes.

While the duck steams, set oven to 475 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet into the oven.  Cook the potatoes until tender, and steam the chard until wilted.  Season with salt & pepper and set aside.


Look, weird grey-looking steamed duck!

Remove duck pieces from steamer and place legs, skin side down, into the hot skillet. Place the skillet into the hot oven immediately and cook the leg quarters for 10 minutes. Add the breasts, skin side down, and cook for 7 more minutes or until the duck takes on a deep mahogany color and the skin is very crisp.


Remove the duck from the skillet and rest under foil. Add the chard and the potatoes to the skillet – season and stir until heated through.  (I took a picture of this, but it will not upload for anything and I am sick of trying.)

Serve the duck with the chard.

Why did I not take a picture of the final plate?  No one knows.  It was delicious and I was super excited – I made a duck!

One Response to “Mighty duck to save the day!”

  1. […] Mighty duck to save the day! […]

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