Monday, October 15, 2012

Roast Duck

    Its been a busy week and I finally got around to roasting the duck. I agonized for several days over which recipe to use. I borrowed Julia Child's book from my daughter-in-law, Beth. I also spent a lot of time with an Italian cookbook entitled "The Silver Spoon" that I had purchased last fall.  I finally settled on a recipe from the Italian cookbook called "Anitra Farcita con Miele" or "Stuffed Duck with Honey" (page 1014). I guess I'm a sucker for recipes that include honey.

Stuffed Duck with Honey

     I'll admit up front that I didn't follow the recipe faithfully. I used bacon in the stuffing because I had bacon but didn't have ham. I also added a little semi-cooked rice to the stuffing just because I wanted rice. I partially cooked the rice before I put it into the stuffing because I had a bad experience once with dry rice in a stuffed bird that failed to cook completely (the rice, not the bird). The stuffing ingredients  included chopped onion, about 6  chopped slices of cooked bacon, chopped duck liver, and one cup of brown rice (partially cooked), and a portion of the honey and soy sauce mixture that was used to marinate and baste the duck..  The stuffing turned out very well.

    The roast duck itself was wonderful.  I omitted the brandy called for in the marinade recipe. Since I don't drink I don't have brandy sitting in my pantry. I don't know how soy sauce ended up in an Italian cookbook but I can't argue with the results.  My sweetie isn't a fan of roast duck and hasn't been feeling well the past few days anyhow.  Consequently, I have the roast duck all to myself.

     As much as I enjoy eating roast duck that is pretty far down the list of reasons why I keep ducks, The primary reason is probably slug control. Slugs are the bane of any organic gardener's existence in our wet maritime climate. Its nice to have the ducks happily eating the slugs and magically turning them into duck eggs. In the fall and in early spring I can let the ducks run loose for a  while every day and let them forage for slugs on their own. When the garden is full of young emerging plants and is rather fragile I do the foraging for them and collect slugs from the garden and yard. That is not as tedious as it sounds as our slugs are quite large and numerous.  Its hard not to love a creature that can eat a slug with such enthusiasm. I wish I could leave them out more but they require close supervision while foraging. I'm not the only creature in the neighborhood that enjoys eating duck.

   Another important reason I keep ducks is the fact that my sweetie really enjoys having them around.  The India Runner ducks have an upright carriage that makes them resemble a walking bowling pin. They were built for slapstick humor. They make her smile whenever she sees them waddling around our yard. Eggs are yet another good reason to keep ducks. The India Runners are prolific layers and kept us well supplied with eggs. I had one duck that started to lay the last week of January and other one started the first week of February. That was without any artificial light to encourage them to lay. They started well before the chickens although I'm still getting eggs from our chickens. The ducks started their egg laying hiatus several weeks back.

     Soil fertility is also a wonderful benefit to having ducks. I muck out the duck pen at least three times each year and it all goes right into my garden beds. I periodically generate lots of sawdust and shavings at the bee store. Most of that goes into the duck pen as bedding. After the addition of copious amounts of duck manure it comes out as compost.

No comments:

Post a Comment