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I am cooking Crispy Duck from Nigella Express (p112) and the recipe says to cook at 170c/325F for 4 hours. This seems a bit high for such a long cooking period, is this correct?
Posted by B & R. Answered on 24th Jan 2012 at 12.00
Duck is a very fatty meat so can be cooked for quite a long time and for a whole crispy duck you do need to roast it for a long period of time to make sure that all of the fat melts away. In addition the meat needs to cook for some time so that it is soft enough to be shredded with forks. You can crisp up the duck skin with a short blast of heat (220c/450F) or just continue to cook for 5 1/2 hours at 170c.
You could also use 6 duck legs instead of a whole bird and cook them for a shorter period of time (around 1 3/4 hours at 170c and 220c for 15 minutes).
As a fair amount of fat does come out of the duck you may find that it starts to smoke if the oven is turned up. If it is smoking then very carefully transfer the 4-hour cooked duck, on its rack, and set it over a clean roasting pan or baking sheet before retirning it to the turned-up oven. Be careful when manouvering the roasting pan that contains the duck fat as it is very hot and you don't want the fat to splash at all. When the fat is cool transfer it to a resealable container and store it in the fridge to be used for frying or roasting potatoes, the fat should keep for a couple of weeks.
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