BARRY SAYS: I have no way of knowing if this particular duck fell out of the sky, but it certainly fell into our laps. We have ordered and enjoyed duck in the past, but it was always at a restaurant. I don't think Kelley has ever cooked it for me.
KELLEY SAYS: I used to serve it at my restaurant [Nibbles on Signal Mountain], but you are right, I have not made it for us.
BARRY: Well, hopefully that will change. In any case, some friends found themselves with a raft of ducks in their freezers and they were kind enough to give us one. They cooked theirs in a slow cooker, which is what I had planned to do with this one, but Kelley had other ideas.
KELLEY: I sort of combined a couple of recipes that I found online and then adapted, as I always do. I wanted it to be simple to make and I wanted to taste the duck and that wonderfully rich and flavorful fat. I also wanted to end up with a crispy skin, which is delicious with duck.
I cooked the quartered pieces on high heat first, then slow cooked them on low heat for three hours before putting them under the broiler at the end to crisp them up.
BARRY: They came out beautifully. We had a bit of discussion as to whether the roasted potatoes we cooked as a side needed salt or rosemary because cooking them in the duck fat gave them plenty of flavor.
KELLEY: They worked perfectly with the duck.
Duck in Skillet
1 5-pound duck, quartered with the wings and backbone removed
Herbs de Provence
1 large whole garlic
4 stalks celery, about 5 inches long
1 handful of thyme
4 bay leaves
Sauce, recipe follows
In a glass casserole dish, cover both sides of the duck in herbs de Provence, sea salt and pepper to taste. Place in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, heat oven to 475 degrees. Cook neck and wings in a saucepan on low heat then use the fat to coat a large cast-iron skillet. Toss wings and neck into the garbage. Place the garlic, celery, thyme and bay leaves in the skillet. Place the duck pieces skin side up in the skillet and put it in the oven. After 10 minutes on the higher heat, remove from the oven and cover in foil. Reduce heat to 275 degrees and cook for three hours.
Remove foil and place under the broiler on high heat for 10-15 minutes to crisp up the skin. I scraped off some of the outer seasoning before serving, but that is a personal preference.
I put the rendered duck fat from the skillet in a glass bowl and refrigerated it for about 20 minutes. Once it separated, I spooned the oil off the top and put the fat in a saucepan on low heat. Once it reduced some, I halved about a dozen French green olives, put them in and let them cook for another 5-10 minutes. I poured this over the duck once plated.