First, start with a freshly quartered duck.Gather your brine ingredients…And combine 2 cups of orange-pineapple juice, 1/2 cup salt, 15 black peppercorns, and 4 smashed garlic cloves. Stir like crazy to dissolve the salt. (AB recommends a bunch of fresh thyme as well. I didn’t have fresh, but I added some dried thyme instead.)
Put the duck quarters in a zip-top bag…And pour the brine over the duck. Press the air out of the bag, and seal. Brine in the refrigerator for 2 – 2.5 hours. Boil 1.5-2 inches of water in a large pot.Put a colander on top of the boiling water, and lay the duck pieces in the colander. AB says to not overlap the duck pieces. I was just able to get everything to fit.Cover, and steam the duck for 45 minutes.Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Put a cast iron skillet in the oven to heat. (My oven takes almost 20 minutes to get to 475. Don’t forget to turn this on well ahead of time!)Oh, I don’t have a cast iron skillet. And our cookware is only rated to 450 degrees. So I pulled out the cast iron Dutch oven. It worked, just slip the legs between the grates!
Okay, so when the duck is done steaming… Put the legs, skin side down, in the hot cast iron
skillet Dutch oven and roast at 475 degrees for 10 minutes.Then, add the breasts, skin side down, and roast for another 7 minutes.You’re looking for the meat to be a mahogany-brown color, and the skin to be nice a crispy.I could have cooked this for a few minutes longer, but it was late and we were hungry. So the skin wasn’t as crispy as it could have been. But it was good!
AB recommends cooking some shallots and chard in the duck fat for a few minutes. I didn’t have any chard, but I did have some kale, so I threw that in with the shallots, over low heat, tossing frequently, just until the kale turned bright green and tender. Well, as tender as kale gets, anyway.
We ate the duck with kale, brown rice, mango slices, and citrus-glazed parsnips. We had so much food, it was like Thanksgiving!
Go, try some duck!