I think they were as excited as I was that Maple Leaf Farms is sponsoring this month's Iron Chef Challenge over at Ott, A's blog. No more chicken for at least one night!!
I've cooked duck a few times, but never with great success. My last attempt resulted in the bird trying to fly out of my oven.
So this time had to be better! I started on Maple Leaf Farms online recipe book. Duck Pasta caught my eye immediately! However, I made some tweaks to the recipe so it would fit my families tastes.
Start with a whole duck. Maple Leaf Farms is an Indiana-based company and produces the best duck! I found my duck in my local Marsh grocery store. Marsh is an Indiana-based grocery chain and is known for carrying local products.
While trying to get this duck prepared, I had a little help from my Lion Cub. You can see he intends to help me in the kitchen someday with my rolling pin!
My duck was thawed completely. And it weighed between 6 1/2 and 7 pounds. I decided cooking it for 2 1/2 hours should have it to the prper internal temperature of 180 degrees.
Preparing a duck is much like preparing a whole chicken. You have to remove the neck, innerds and rinse the duck with cold water. Then I place the duck, breast side up, on top of a roasting tray in a greased pan.
I cooked it exactly 2 1/2 hours and it reached 180 degrees!! Be warned, the smell of roasting duck will fill your house and make your stomach growl! And don't feel guilty when you begin to remove the cooked skin from the duck and you taste a little piece. Yummy!
After you have taken the the skin and bones off of the duck, you'll need to shred the meat. While the meat is cooling, chop up one onion.
Once the onion is chopped, put it in a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. I used my favorite olive oil from Kokomo Winery in California. I know the winemaker, an Indiana native, and think this is the best stuff!!
Add the onion to the pan along with 6 chopped up slices of bacon. I use Indiana Kitchen bacon, a company located in Delphi, Indiana! This is one of the packing facilities my family sells our hogs to, so I always think some of this bacon may have been walking around my farm a few weeks earlier.
Let the bacon and onion brown. Drain the mixture on a paper towel-lined plate. You're going to want to nibble on this too!
You can choose whatever pasta you would like to use as the sauce holder. I like whole grain penne pasta. Whatever pasta you decide on needs boiled and drained.
To the cooked pasta add a can of diced tomatoes, the onion mixture and the shredded duck. I prefer Red Gold tomatoes, another company based in Indiana!
Let the mixture heat while stirring. Try to resist the urge to shove your fork into the pasta and eat it!!
To the mixture add an 8 ounce bag of shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir until melted. I also added parmesan cheese to the pasta mixture and to the finished product.
I promise you will LOVE this pasta dish!! I got hungry while recapping this recipe and had to make a quick trip to the fridge for a tiny bite of leftovers! It is well worth the time and effort of cooking a whole duck. Although the next time I make this I will search for duck breasts and try them in this recipe.
Thanks to Maple Leaf Farms for sponsoring this month's Iron Chef Challenge! Enjoy this recipe!
2 TBSP olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup cooked bacon, chopped
3 cups cooked Maple Leaf Farms Duck, shredded from breast or leg
3 cups tomatoes, drained, chopped
8 cups cooked penne pasta
8 ounces Mozarrella cheese, grated
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Heat oil over medium heat in saucepan. Add onions and bacon and cook for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in duck. Cook for 5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Toss with pasta. Add Mozarella cheese and stir until melted. If desired, season with additional salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.