With Easter weekend in full swing, I am eating far too much chocolate. :) Nom nom nom!
Today’s Whole30 friendly recipe is probably one of the my very favourites. I recommend making this early on, because you’ll have leftover meat for using with all sorts of things!
Now, for those of you that aren’t familiar with cooking or eating duck, there is a very important fact that I feel needs to be addressed right away. Duck is one of the fattiest meats you will ever cook. It is like the bacon of the bird world. It’s so fucking tender and delicious… my mouth is watering right now.
Anyway, you’ll need to make sure that you have a slow cooker big enough for a whole duck. And if you decide to adapt this recipe to the oven instead, make sure that you use a nice deep roasting pan, or else you’ll have a duck fat explosion. Some people use special pans that elevate the duck so that the fat doesn’t cover the meat, but I don’t understand it. Duck slow roasted in it’s own fat is a delicacy. It will delight your senses. Seriously, trust me on this one. Enjoy your Whole30 approved fat.
If you really just can’t handle the amount of fat that the duck provides, you can swap out a chicken for this recipe. But it won’t be as good.
This is a great meal to prepare the night before, and then store the ceramic insert in the fridge so you can start the slow cooker first thing in the morning. I’m not sure exactly what the times would be if you do this in the oven, but I like to leave the slow cooker going all day while I’m at work so that I have a delicious supper ready as soon as I get home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
-1 to 2 oranges (I like cara cara, but any flavourful orange will do) cut into wedges
-Sea salt and pepper
-Two sweet peppers
-Two celery stalks
To prepare your bird, open up the neck and stuff the inside as full of oranges, onion chunks and garlic cloves as you can. Dump some rosemary and salt into the neck hole and stick your whole hand in there, squishing everything around. Add more fruit or onions if there’s still room.
Gently run your fingers between the skin and breasts of the duck to create a pocket on each side. You can put more fruit in here but I like to do the savoury stuff on the outside and the sweet stuff on the inside. So I did just garlic cloves and onions and rosemary under the skin. Try to close the neckhole as best you can.
Once the bird is sufficiently stuffed, cover it all over with salt, pepper, and basil. There is no such thing as too much of any of these three things. Douse it.
Wash your hands extremely well before this next part.
Chop up carrots, sweet peppers, and celery into bite sized pieces. You can use any kind of vegetables really, this is just what I had on hand at the time. Whatever you use, make a nice bed layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the bird breasts up on top of the bed of veggies. Feel free to add more veggies around the duck, but don’t overfill, because the duck fat will rise throughout the day.
I always put my slow cooker on low and then let it go for 11-12 hours. This is sufficient time for your duck and veggies to be absolutely drowning in fat and super tender and flavourful.
I removed the duck onto a cutting board and used a slotted spoon to get the veggies. All of the fat leftover went into a large tupperware container for future use. Duck fat is awesome for basting roasts, frying veggies, or adding a bit of flavour to a salad.
I pulled all of the orange chunks from the middle of the duck and discarded them. The onions and garlic pieces went in with the veggies, and then I picked the duck carcass as clean as I could.
Then, all the bones went back into the slow cooker. I filled it up about halfway with water, added a few dollops of fat and salt and pepper, gave it a good stir and then set it on low for the next day and a half. It was one of the best duck broths I’d ever tasted, with just a hint of citrus.
Anyway, the veggies I ate that night with some duck meat for dinner, and the rest of the meat I put in a container for use any time I needed meat. I fried it up with eggs for breakfast, tossed cold meat into salads for some added protein, ate alongside roasted veggies, or mixed into stir fried veggie dishes. I ate that duck for about a week, and it was truly satisfying. One of my proudest Whole30 endeavors, I must say.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy duck?