It was a meaty weekend.
Me: Yay! My friend from DC is coming this weekend! She wants lots of bacon.
Friend: Why bacon? LA isn't particularly known for its bacon, is it?
Friend: It's you! She associates you with bacon!
And yes, my friend from DC does associate me with bacon, just as I her. We don't send each other emails updating the other on what's happening in our lives; we send each other articles about red meat and bacon. You think I'm kidding, but I'm so not. It's a great friendship.
And if you can't get out of town, the next best thing is to have an out-of-town guest who only requests two things: bacon and booze. It makes life easy, and you're forced into relaxing too since you can hardly do work when bacon and booze are in the picture for an entire weekend.
(I recently got a massage, and the masseuse, after one minute of rubbing my back, said, "You're a student, aren't you." Oh, so sad that my knotted-up back muscles give me away so quickly.)
So there was bacon had, in addition to massive amounts of shopping. Our weekend went roughly like this: eat shop eat drink shop eat shop drink drink.
And then there was duck.
I've had this duck sitting in my freezer for the last couple of months, a gag gift from my sister who knows I'm obsessed with eating duck. Even though it weighed 4 pounds, and technically supposed was able to feed four people, it seemed a little small for any of the recent dinner parties I've thrown. But it's perfect for two people!
After consulting several recipes, I said, ah, crap, what the heck, I'm just going to stick it in the oven and hope it turns out well. Okay, it was a little more involved than that, but not by much. And after a mini Ocean's marathon (Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve, accompanied with several martinis and wine), the duck was ready. And good. And I have leftovers I'm totally looking forward to putting in duck quesadillas.
Bacon, booze, buying, and birds. It's a happy life.
Crispy skinned roast duck
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking.
Serves 2-3, depending on level of hunger and desired level of neatness in carving up the duck.
1 duck, approximately 4 pounds, all cleaned up and out
Wash and dry the duck. Rub the entire duck with salt, approximately 3/4 teaspoon for every pound of duck. Pierce the clementines with a knife and place in the cavity of the duck. Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the duck all over with a toothpick (this is to allow the fat to drain out. You're supposed to use a small thin knife, etcetc, but a toothpick worked fine, especially since I have those slightly larger round ones, almost like a bamboo skewer). Halve the baby potatoes, and peel and cut the onions into large wedges. Arrange the potatoes and onions in the roasting pan, drizzle with some olive oil, and place the duck atop. (I had a roasting rack, so I used that to elevate the duck).
Roast the duck for approximately 3-4 hours. Or, you can be impatient as I was, and roast it for approximately 2.5 hours at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, then for an hour at 300 degrees. I turned the duck a couple of times, and stirred the potatoes and onions occasionally to make sure they didn't burn. I also pierced the duck each time before I turned it.
Turn the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or, for me, 370, because I wanted the duck to be done already, and my oven does skew a bit cooler than what it actually says) and roast for another 35-45 minutes. Make sure your duck is breast-side up for this last roasting at the higher temperature so that the skin browns more attractively for presentation's sake.
Serve alongside with the potatoes and onions. I suppose one could make a gravy out of the remaining pan juices, but we were too hungry and I was too lazy. The duck was nice and moist all on its own, so making the gravy might have been a touch superfluous anyway.