apples, like much produce, are available in grocery stores year round. however, they are never as good as when they are actually in season. currently you can find so many varieties of local apples that you might run out of ideas of what to do with them all. they range from sweet galas to sour granny smiths, and from crunchy honeycrisps to soft macintoshes–something for everyone! aside from simply eating them as snacks, i love using apples in both sweet preparations, such as apples pies, and savory dishes, such as my apple roasted duck.
this dish is easy to make and virtually bursts with meatiness and the flavors of the fall. ducks are well-endowed with fat, which drips onto the apples, onions, and garlic to make a delicious and fragrant jus. slow roasting the duck, a method i adapted from the joy of cooking, also produces irresistible crispy skin. i served my apple roasted duck with roasted sweet potatoes, but wild rice would be another good choice. with a salad and a glass of wine, it’s a fantastic apple-infused feast!
apple roasted duck
1 4-5 lb duck, rinsed and dried, with giblets removed and neck put aside (if present, sometimes the neck and giblet are not sold with the duck)
4 medium apples, cored and cut into 8 pieces each
1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tbps finely chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano)
1 large sprig each fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups verjus
1. preheat the oven to 250°f.
2. scatter the apples, onions, and garlic in the olive oil around the bottom of the roasting pan. then pour the olive oil over them and toss to coat. place a roasting rack over the apples, onions, and garlic.
3. pierce the skin and fat layer of the duck with a skewer or small paring knife, about 20-30 times, taking care not to pierce the meat. coat the duck thoroughly with the chopped herbs, season with salt and pepper, and put the sprigs of herbs inside the cavity. place the duck breast-side-down on the rack.
4. roast for 3 hours, re-piercing the skin and fat layer every hour.
5. after 3 hours, turn the duck breast-side-up and add the verjus to the roasting pan. increase the oven temperature to 350°f and cook for another 45 minutes.
6. remove the duck from the roasting pan and set aside on a cutting board to rest. return the roasting pan to the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400°f and cook for another 10 minutes.
7. remove the apples, onions, and garlic from the roasting pan with a slotted spoon and put them aside in a bowl. pour the remaining jus into a large pyrex measuring cup or other tall, heat-proof container. allow the fat to settle at the top, about 5 minutes, and then carefully remove the fat with a spoon. when most of the fat has been removed, pour the jus over the apple mixture.
8. to serve, carve the duck and serve with a large spoonful of the apple mixture and jus.
jus: the natural juices given off from cooking meat. an easy way to achieve a flavorful sauce without any thickeners.
verjus: a mildly acidic juice made from pressing unripe grapes. can be used in recipes as a substitute for wine or vinegar.
for more tantalizing apple recipes take a peek at these great blogs:
Cooking Channel: Add Apples to Your Salad
The Cultural Dish: Apple Cider Martini
And Love It Too: Fried Apples (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free and Vegan)
From My Corner of Saratoga: Easy Skillet Apple Pie (A Southern Living Recipe Reviewed)
Haute Apple Pie: Baked Apple Pancake
Virtually Vegan Mama: Slow Cooker Apple Date Butter
Big Girls Small Kitchen: Apple Pancakes
What’s Gaby Cooking: Apple Cake
FN Dish: Savory Apple Recipes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Roasted Apple and Caramelized Onion Soup
The Sensitive Epicure: Pan Fried Apple Rings (Gluten-Free)
Glory Foods: Caramel Apple Upside Down Cupcakes
Daily*Dishin: Apple, Bacon, Feta Salad With Maple Vinaigrette
Dishin & Dishes: Old Fashioned Apple Crisp
Cooking With Elise: Wholegrain Apple Oat Pancakes