My favorite time of the year has arrived (psst, it’s fall and winter if that wasn’t obvious) and our holiday plans look different than those of years past. For starters, Chris and I decided we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving at home alone . It’s a wee bit sad as we love being surrounded by friends and family during these times, not to mention all the food in the world, but we want to do our part since there’s been a 250% increase of COVID cases in the last six weeks in SF. Zoom dinner party anyone?
Just because it’s the two of us doesn’t mean we don’t plan on feasting though. Though the quantity of food may be adjusted, I’m still planning a ginormous Thanksgiving spread. This month, I’ll post a variety of Thanksgiving recipes I created for celebrations taking place on the smaller scale!
Duck, Duck, Duck
I know that turkey and Thanksgiving are synonymous. I mean, I always go “Happy Turkey Day.” But even a small turkey weighs about eight pounds. That’s way too many pounds for two people. Based on a wonderful guide on amount of food to prepare per person posted on the Williams Sonoma IG, about 1.5 pounds of bone-in turkey should be estimated per person. And that’s why I think duck is perfect when preparing a Thanksgiving meal for two as the average commercial duck is between four to five pounds. Duck is absolutely delicious and a perfect replacement for turkey. So why isn’t it widely sold?
According to the USDA, ducks need more space than chickens or turkeys to grow. Chickens require about 1 square foot while ducks will need 3 square feet. The large-scale agricultural practices don’t lend themselves to duck raising. That alone is the main reason why duck is not popular.
Where to Buy Duck?
I’ve seen ducks at Costco sometimes so you may get lucky there. Most butcher stores carry duck or can take preorders for them. If you’re trying to stay home as much as possible, then you’re in luck! I buy my ducks from Belcampo. Their concept is pasture-raised animals so they have all the space in the world to farm ducks. I also love the convenience of Belcampo as it arrives straight to my door. Visit www.belcampo.com/sandyeats/ or use my special code SANDYEATS10 for 10% off your online purchase!
The next best thing about this time of year are the pomegranates from my mom’s tree. My mom has a huge pomegranate tree. Each year, she gives me about 15 pounds of them each year (fruit swap, anyone?). There’s only so much pomegranate one person can actually eat so I ended up juicing them the past few years. Then I realized juice could only stay fresh for so long and I looked for ways to preserve pomegranate. Making pomegranate molasses has turned into an annual tradition.
I’ve used the pomegranate molasses in cooking and baking. I really wanted to fuse the fall flavors with the duck and make it taste more like the holidays. Not to mention the molasses helps crisp up the skin and adds a delicious sweetness to the whole dish.
This roast duck is the perfect gorgeous centerpiece to a small Thanksgiving holiday meal! I’m hoping to turn this into a new family tradition.
Pomegranate Roasted Duck
- 4-5 pound duck, patted dry
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 3 shallots, skin on, halved
- 1 head garlic, halved
- 1 apple, quartered
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 500F.
- Step 2 Generously season the duck and cavity with salt and pepper.
- Step 3 Place rosemary, shallots, garlic, and apple into cavity.
- Step 4 Truss the duck and place on a roasting rack.
- Step 5 Cover duck loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes.
- Step 6 Lower oven temperature to 300F and continue to roast for 3 1/2 hours while basting duck with juices from the pan occasionally.
- Step 7 In a small saucepan, add pomegranate juice, sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and whisk together.
- Step 8 Bring mixture to a low simmer and reduce for about 15-20 minutes until thick. Reserve a tablespoon of pomegranate molasses. Set aside the rest to cool while duck continues to cook.
- Step 9 Remove foil from duck and brush pomegranate molasses onto the duck every 30 minutes while roasting for another 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the skin is a rich red golden brown hue and crisp.
- Step 10 Transfer duck to a cutting board to cool, allowing the juices to redistribute in the meat.
- Step 11 Skim off fat from pan juices and pour the juices to a small saucepan and add reserved pomegranate molasses. Bring to a low simmer and add salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
- Step 12 Pour into a bowl to serve as a sauce.
- Step 13 Carve duck and serve.
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