1 medium duck
2 tablespoons of mugwort (a special herb used for geese and duck)
3 cups of water
salt and pepper
A new kitchen, a new city, a new recipe: yours truly still finds herself struggling with the unfamiliar equipment and improvised utensils, but the life is good kitchen is back, celebrating the culinary delights of winter and the holiday season!
In many parts of continental Europe, November 11 is known as St. Martin’s day, the day of the saint who gave half of his cloak to a beggar. Processions of children carrying lanterns through the early darkness of the short November days can be seen everywhere. Traditionally, this day is celebrated with spiced hot wine, nuts and oranges, dried dates, plenty of chocolate and of course, a goose or duck.
In view of the small size of our household, a duck had seemed preferable, and so the new oven finally met its first real challenge. For the cook, the main difficulty is to be patient and not to rush the process; otherwise, it is much less intimidating than it sounds and in a nutshell, putting the duck in the oven, basting it regularly and taking it out at a good moment when it’s neither too raw nor overcooked are about the main tasks required.
While pre-heating the oven to 300°, I prepared the stuffing: one apple, one small onion and 3 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced in medium-sized chunks, seasoned with salt, pepper and mugwort. The duck was filled with that mix after having been washed, patted dry and rubbed with additional salt, pepper and mugwort, and put in a pan breast down with the 3 cups of water.
The first hour, I let it cook very independently without too much supervision; then in the second hour, I started basting with its own juices, around every 15 minutes. After 1.5 hours, the bird was turned and after another half hour, I raised the heat to 400° for a final 30 minutes to make the skin as crispy as possible.
The beautiful result was enjoyed with traditional potato dumplings and red cabbage,the apples melting in our mouths, and some holiday carols and lots of chocolates, nuts and oranges for dessert. Life is good!