Duck Recipe & Nutrition | Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food

Duck

Duck

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At a Glance

With dark meat that’s rich and fatty, duck is the beef of the poultry world. For most North Americans, duck is a rarity in home kitchens. In America, for every 325 chickens consumed, about 1 duck is consumed. Instead, duck is likely to be encountered only in Asian restaurants (see: duck, Peking) and highfalutin French restaurants (see: duck, à l’orange). Although duck has a similar appearance to chicken and comes in similar cuts (whole, breast, leg, wing), it has a much bolder and richer flavor, with a deep rosy brown color that’s closer to beef. Duck is high in protein and also in fat (which can be rendered and used for other recipes), and is a good source of iron, selenium, zinc, and B12. China is by far the world’s most prolific producer of ducks, with France as a distant second. Which may or may not also mean the world prefers Peking duck to Duck à l’orange.

Overview

With dark meat that’s rich and fatty, duck is the beef of the poultry world.

For most North Americans, duck is a rarity in home kitchens. Instead, duck is likely to be encountered only in Asian restaurants (see: duck, Peking) and highfalutin French restaurants (see: duck, à l’orange).

However, many ducks consumed in North America are relatively homegrown. Most ducks consumed in the US are Pekin ducks, a breed of domestic duck, and many Pekins come from Long Island, New York, which is home to several large commercial duck farms.

Considering how delightful duck is, one may wonder why it is not more popular, and why chicken, for example, has become America’s poultry sweetheart. While some are turned off by duck’s fattier composition and bolder taste, ducks also yield less meat and require more resources (especially space) to farm. It is likely for these reasons that in America, for every 325 chickens consumed, about 1 duck is consumed.

China is by far the world’s most prolific producer of ducks, with France as a distant second.

Identification

Duck can be sold in cuts, such as breasts, wings, or legs, or sold whole.

A whole, raw duck will look much like a whole chicken, except with a more elongated body and muscular legs. The meat has a dark reddish color, similar to raw beef. Duck meat will often come with a generous layer of fatty skin, which can be scored and crisped up during cooking to add richness and flavor.

Although duck is relatively similar to chicken in terms of appearance and cuts, it has a markedly different flavor. While chicken is fairly bland and neutral, duck has a bolder, meatier flavor typical of darker meats. Because of its high fat content, it is quite rich.

Nutrition Info

One cup of chopped duck meat (about 140g) has 281 calories, 32.9g protein, 15.7g of fat, and no carbohydrates, fiber, or sugar. Duck is a good source of iron, selenium, zinc, and B12.

Selection

Duck may be hard to find in most grocery stores in North America. In order to procure it, visit a reputable, good quality specialty butcher shop.

Duck may be purchased whole or in cuts, such as breasts, legs, or wings. Fresh duck should have little to no odor and have deep rosy brown flesh and creamy colored skin. If the meat shows signs of greying or has an unpleasant odor, run far away. Always check the expiration date on the package to ensure freshness.

As mentioned, ducks yield less meat than chickens, so especially when buying a whole duck, which has a deceivingly low yield, check with your butcher to make sure you have enough duck to feed your dinner table guests.

Storage

Well-sealed, raw duck meat can be stored in the fridge for up to two days, or frozen for up to six months. Cooked duck will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for about three to four days.

Thaw frozen duck in the fridge (rather than on the counter at room temperature) for safest results.

Preparation

Duck requires cooking before you eat it. Cooking instructions will vary depending on what cut of duck you are preparing. Duck legs do very well braised, while a whole duck is delicious roasted in the oven. Duck breasts, which are likely the most accessible cuts from duck, can be roasted, seared on the stovetop, or both!

Here’s how to do it:

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, using a sharp knife, score the fatty skin in a crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle both sides of the breast with salt and pepper, and lay the breast skin-side-down in a cool, oven-safe pan (i.e. do not preheat the pan; starting it cool will help render the fat). Turn the heat to medium-high, and wait until the duck begins to sizzle and render fat, about 6-8 minutes. Flip the breast over, sear it lightly, and then flip it again so it has returned to skin-side-down. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes. Once the time is up, remove the pan from the oven and place the duck breast on a plate to rest slightly before slicing. There will be a generous amount of fat rendered in the pan, which you may choose to save for other recipes. (Duck fat is a particularly nice fat to roast potatoes in.) Once the cooked breast has rested for about 10 minutes, cut it into slices, and serve.

Recipe: UMAMI DUCK & KIMCHI FRIED RICE

Duck

Duck looks very impressive but is actually quite easy to cook. This duck is roasted using some classic Asian flavors, and pairs well with a savory kimchi fried rice.

Ingredients

   
Duck:
duck, giblets removed, excess fat trimmed, thawed
1 4-5 lb
soy sauce
1/4 cup
Chinese five spice
1 tbsp
salt and pepper
season with
   
   
    
Rice:
butter, unsalted
2 tsp
toasted sesame seed oil
2 tsp
garlic, finely sliced
2 cloves
kimchi
1 cup
rice, cooked
2 cups
soy sauce
2 tsp
chopped green onions or chives
garnish with

Directions

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 110 minutes   Yield: 4 servings

For the duck:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, prepare the duck. Brush some of the soy sauce to cover the surface of the duck. Sprinkle duck with 1 tablespoon of Chinese five spice, salt, and pepper. Using clean hands, rub the spices in gently. Place a rack in a roasting pan and add a bit of water to the base of the pan. Place the duck, wings up, on the rack in the roasting pan, and place in the preheated oven. Cook undisturbed for 30 minutes.

Once 30 minutes has elapsed, remove the duck from the oven and prick its back all over with a fork. Brush with more soy sauce, and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Flip it over onto its back, and then repeat; prick with a fork, brush with soy sauce, and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. Place it back in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Once the 20 minutes has elapsed, remove the duck from the oven and prick its back all over with a fork, and brush with more soy sauce. Roast for another 10 minutes and then remove and brush with more soy sauce. Roast for another 5-10 minutes if needed. The duck is ready when it is golden brown all over, the juices run clear, and a thermometer inserted into a thigh reads 155-165 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow to rest while you make the rice.

For the rice:

Add butter and toasted sesame seed oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add garlic and cook until golden, about a minute. Add kimchi and cook until juices have mostly evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then, add the cooked rice and the soy sauce; toss to combine, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat, place in a serving dish, and garnish with chopped green onion or chives.

Serve with duck.

*Note: Duck will render a lot of fat. You can either discard it or save it for other recipes. It is a great fat to use for roasting potatoes or making pie crusts. It can be stored in a well-sealed jar in the fridge for up to 6 months, or in the freezer for up to 9 months.

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At a Glance

With dark meat that’s rich and fatty, duck is the beef of the poultry world. For most North Americans, duck is a rarity in home kitchens. In America, for every 325 chickens consumed, about 1 duck is consumed. Instead, duck is likely to be encountered only in Asian restaurants (see: duck, Peking) and highfalutin French restaurants (see: duck, à l’orange). Although duck has a similar appearance to chicken and comes in similar cuts (whole, breast, leg, wing), it has a much bolder and richer flavor, with a deep rosy brown color that’s closer to beef. Duck is high in protein and also in fat (which can be rendered and used for other recipes), and is a good source of iron, selenium, zinc, and B12. China is by far the world’s most prolific producer of ducks, with France as a distant second. Which may or may not also mean the world prefers Peking duck to Duck à l’orange.