Canard aux Navets (Roast Duck with Turnips)

This was one of the main dishes for our big gourmet dinner. It was my definitely my favorite of the two choices. It is fairly simple to make and is very impressive. The most difficult thing about cooking duck is that it is very fatty, so you have to be careful to follow the directions so that you allow most of the fat to drain off.
What you need:
4-5 lb. duck
peeled rind of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1 cup duck stock(you can find a recipe for this online)
1 1/2 cups Espangonle sauce (you can find a recipe for this online)
1 cup white wine (I used water)
juice of 1/2 lemon

For garnish:
6-8 small white turnips, peeled and quartered
2 TBS butter
1 TBS sugar
10-12 small onions, blanched and peeled

What to Do:

1. Put the lemon rind into the duck, sprinkle the inside with the salt and pepper, and truss it. Trussing is just using a thick piece of string to tie the legs of the bird together, and another to tie the wings of the bird down to it's sides. You do this to make the bird hold it's shape while cooking so it will look prettier. If you don't want to do this you don't have to. Once the bird is seasoned and trussed, place on a rack in a roasting pan, pour around the stock and prick the skin all over to release the fat.

2. Roast the bird in a 400 degree oven for about 1 1/2 hours or until the skin is crisp and the thigh of the bird is tender when you stab it with a fork. (Duck and goose are both very dark meats, so they will not look done when you cut them open.) During cooking, turn the duck from one side to the other, then onto it's back, basting occasionally. (Basting is just taking the juices from the bottom of the pan and drizzling them over the bird) Discard excess fat as it gathers on the bottom of the pan.

3. To prepare the garnish, blanch the turnips and drain them. (Blanching is putting the veggies into boiling water for a short period of time, then putting them into a bowl of very cold water right away. It's not hard and doesn't take very long.) Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the turnips. Sprinkle with sugar and cook over very low heat, stirring the pot from time to time, for 10-15 minutes or until the turnips are almost tender and the sugar has begun to carmalize (turn brown). Add the blanched onions and cook 8-10 minutes longer or until the onions and turnips are tender and glazed with caramel.

4. When the duck is cooked, transfer it to a serving platter(I just took mine out of the pan for a few minutes while I got the gravy ready then put it back in to serve it out of the pan) and keep it warm. Discard the fat from the pan and dissolve the pan juices in the wine(water) and lemon juice, boiling well. (Make sure you really scrape the bottom of the pan well so that you get all the yummy flavors that have cooked to the bottom) Strain the mixture into the espagnole sauce and boil it rapidly until glossy and the consistency of light cream. Spoon a little sauce over the duck, garnish the platter with the turnips and onions and serve remaining sauce separately.

No comments