Lately we’ve been having duck on special occasions. We had it this last Thanksgiving and Christmas. We get it from the Grand Central Market. It is a very tasty “marinated duck breast”. The missus picked up a couple for our Easter dinner.
Previously I had been grilling it, which came out nicely, but I decided to try something different. I took the duck breasts and scored the skin / fat both directions at about half in spacings. I placed the meat, fatty side down, in our cast iron skillet and turned the stove on medium low (actually quite low since we have an electric stove – like 2 or maybe 3). The goal here was to render off almost all of the fat without actually cooking the meat. I periodically spooned out the extra fat (duck has an amazing quantity of fat in that fat layer). This process was somewhat time consuming (taking 30 minutes or more). I probably could have done this more quickly, but I was being careful to not cook the meat. After the fat had suitably cooked off, I transferred the meat, again fatty side down, to a broiler pan and cooked the meat in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees (internal temperature of 165F) using the oven’s broiler element (but I don’t think that really made any difference vs just normal baking).
The duck came out very nicely and I think I will repeat the same method next time we have duck. The slow fat rendering took a fair bit of extra time, but it really was worth it. When I grilled the duck before the fat caused frequent “flame ups” and not nearly enough of the fat rendered off during cooking.
We discussed that we’ll get marinated rabbit next time.