CLAY POT SMOKED DUCK WITH POTATOES

This gem of a recipe was made by my beloved husband. I know what you’re thinking: if only all women could be so lucky, right? Since he was in charge of the meal I did not take pictures of the whole process, but it turned out so good, I have to share. Duck is a tricky bird to cook. Legs and breast cook at different rates, so roasting can pose problems. The combination of smoker and clay pot did a magical job, but if you don’t have a smoker, the clay pot alone will work beautifully (check out this post from 10 years ago – !!! – by my friend Celia).

CLAY POT SMOKED DUCK WITH POTATOES
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 whole duck
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
fingerling potatoes
hickory wood pellets (for smoker, optional)

Soak your clay pot in water, reserve.

Season the duck inside and outside with salt, pepper and Herbes de Provence. Place in a smoker at 250F for 30 minutes. This will give it a very light smoky flavor.

Place the duck in the cold clay pot, add the potatoes all around it, season them lightly with salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence. No need to add any oil. Close the clay pot and place in a cold oven. Turn it to 425F. Roast for 2 hours. After one hour, open the clay pot and carefully remove some of the accumulated fat with a baster. Close the pot again and continue roasting.

At the end of 2 hours, open the lid and reduce the temperature to 375F. Roast for 30 minutes longer, or until the skin gets as crispy as you like it.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one outstanding meal. Phil made a little duck stock with the neck and gizzards of the bird and used that to make a simple gravy, but I tell you, it was excellent straight from the oven, nothing else needed. The potatoes put up a beautiful fight with the duck for the spotlight, because they got infused with duck fat and absolutely perfect. The most amazing thing is that the duck itself did not turn out fatty or overly greasy. As I said, if you don’t have a smoker, just go straight for the clay pot.

In the very near future, I will adapt this method to make a Chinese-style roast duck. I actually tried a very convoluted recipe a couple of months ago and it was an epic disaster. It involved spatchcocking, sous-vide for 20 hours, fridge-drying overnight, roasting, and a side of grievance. It did not bring me joy. But now, enlightened by the man I married, I am ready to re-visit the issue. Stay tuned.

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CLAY POT ROAST CHICKEN

In my las post – In My Kitchen – I mentioned that we got a large clay pot. I put it to use right away, making the most classic item in clay cooking: a whole chicken. It is truly a non-recipe, essentially no work, no special ingredients. Salt and pepper. I added lemon slices just because. The clay pot gets soaked in water for half an hour, drained, and placed with the chicken inside (obviously) in a cold oven. As the oven heats up, the water retained by the porous surface of the pot turns into steam – a lot of steam – contained in the pot. With time moisture is reduced and the pot turns into a real roaster.  You simply cannot beat the texture achieved by this type of cooking, and if you are into crispy skin, no problem, open the lid and let it roast for 10 to 15 more minutes.

CLAY POT ROAST CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 chicken, about 4 pounds
fingerling potatoes
carrots
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, thinly sliced

Soak the clay pot in cold water for 30 minutes.

Pat dry chicken, season liberally with salt and pepper all over, and place lemon slices in the cavity. No need to truss it, but you can do it if you’d like.

Place fingerling potatoes, left whole if small, cut in half lengthwise if big, on the bottom of the clay pot. Add carrots. Use enough veggies to fully cover the bottom of the pot.  Place the chicken on top. Close the lid, and place in a cold oven.

Set the oven to 430 F, and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Open the lid and let it roast for additional 10 to 15 minutes, if you like a more crispy skin.

You can make a simple gravy with all the juices accumulated in the clay pot, or simply drizzle it over the meat.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: It’s so nice to go back to simplicity in cooking. Yes, there’s something to be said about involved sauces and marinades, braises that take every single spice you own, measuring 1/8 of a teaspoon of this, a pinch of that, to the point that you wonder… could I really tell a difference if I left a few of the spices out?  In this preparation, all you need is salt and pepper. You can gild the lily if you prefer, grab that smoked paprika, the fennel, the Herbes de Provence. But consider making it once like this. You’ll be surprised by how flavorful a simple roast chicken can be.

The root veggies will cook and get soaked by the juices, and for that reason I think the lemon is a simple addition that brightens up the flavor.  This was our non-traditional Easter dinner, by the way.  We did not feel like having lamb, a light snow was falling outside, roast chicken was a perfect choice that evening.

Added bonus?  The glazed interior makes cleaning a breeze!

Stay tuned for more adventures in clay pot cooking… I’ve got quite a few things on my list to try soon, including a nice loaf of sourdough bread. If you have a favorite recipe to use the clay pot, please let me know in the comments, will you?

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