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Duck Recipe

Asked by Jorgensen. Answered on 17th July 2011

Full question

I cooked the Roast Duck Legs and Potatoes recipe from Nigella - Kitchen (p388). The recipe states oven 200C and cook for 2 hours. The duck was over-cooked. Is the oven temperature wrong or is the 2 hours cooking time incorrect? Please advise.

Our answer

The oven temperature of 200c (400F/Gas Mk 6) is correct, as is the long cooking time. The duck legs will be thoroughly cooked but it is more common to cook the leg meat of ducks thoroughly and only serve the breasts pink. As the legs contain a significant amount of fat they should not dry out but as the fat renders down in the oven it should help to cook and flavour the potatoes and leave the leg meat very tender (it should be almost falling off the bone and be tender enough to shred with a fork, should you so choose).

The duck ic cooked in a roasting tin (pan) with sides, so the duck and potatoes sit below the top of the tin. If you use a shallower vessel then the duck is more directly exposed to the heat of the oven and will cook slightly more quickly. The recipe does mention that the duck and potatoes are ready to eat after 1 1/2 hours and you may find that you prefer this timing.

We would mention that some ovens tend to have hot spots so it is worth turning the potatoes occasionally and rotating the pan a couple of times during cooking, to make sure that the potatoes don't darken too much.

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