Feature

Roast duck: A New Orleans take on a Chinatown specialty

This Southern-style roast duck gets its own sweet-salty depth from a 24-hour bath in a sugary tea brine.

Down South, “people take their meat very seriously,” said Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing in Southern Comfort (Ten Speed Press). When we serve duck at MiLa, our restaurant in New Orleans, that local passion is an inspiration, even though we add a bit of New York flavor.

The New York influence is subtle. When we worked as chefs in Manhattan, we often spent date nights dining on Peking duck in Chinatown. Our Southern-style roast duck gets its own sweet-salty depth from a 24-hour bath in a sugary tea brine.

Recipe of the week

Sweet-tea-roasted duck in date sauce

For brine:

  • 8 cups freshly brewed black tea
  • 8 cups ice water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1½ tsp black peppercorns 
  • 1½ tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • Sprig each of thyme, sage, and rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

For the roast:

  • One 4-lb Muscovy duck (neck saved, innards removed and discarded)
  • 4 shallots
  • 2 heads garlic, halved
  • 2 carrots, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Sprig each of rosemary and sage
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Combine all brine ingredients in a stockpot and add the duck. Weight it down with a plate, as the duck must be fully submerged. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove duck from the brine and place in a roasting pan with the neck, shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Season duck inside and out with black pepper. 

Roast duck about 1½ to 2 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thick part of the thigh reads 175 degrees. Remove duck from pan (reserving vegetables and drippings) and cool 30 minutes. 

To make sauce, place roasting pan over a burner on medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and brandy. Using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom of pan to release caramelized bits. Cook until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add stock and cook for 10 more minutes. Remove vegetables, herbs, and duck neck from the sauce and discard. Strain pan sauce through a sieve into a blender; add the salt, dates, vinegar, and butter. Puree until the sauce is smooth and reserve.

Carve the duck and arrange on a platter. Spoon the date sauce on top. Serves 4.

Recommended

Omicron strain reaches U.K., Germany, Italy, and Czechia
airplane
It's spreading

Omicron strain reaches U.K., Germany, Italy, and Czechia

Planes from South Africa carrying COVID-positive passengers land in Amsterdam
schiphol airport
omicr-on a plane?

Planes from South Africa carrying COVID-positive passengers land in Amsterdam

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2021
covid virus
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2021

China's politically revealing blockbusters
Chinese movies.
Picture of Joel MathisJoel Mathis

China's politically revealing blockbusters

Most Popular

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation
Political Cartoon.
Feature

7 cartoons about Thanksgiving inflation

Who pays America's taxes?
Taxes.
Briefing

Who pays America's taxes?

Neal Stephenson recommends 6 books on information manipulation
Neal Stephenson.
Feature

Neal Stephenson recommends 6 books on information manipulation