Sometimes I feel like a Thanksgiving grinch. It’s not that I don’t like Thanksgiving, I do! I love cooking for friends and family and hosting a big gathering with way too much food. That is, as they say, my shit. I’m just tired of the same old recipes every year, with zero variation. And truth be told, I hate turkey. I don’t mind nice slices of thick turkey on a fat, stacked sandwich, but it’s a hard pass for me on a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Growing up with a fanatically traditional and controlling mom when it came to turkey day meal (love you, mom), hasn’t always been easy. She clings to her specific dishes like you wouldn’t believe. I loved thanksgiving growing up and I love the dishes she makes, but MY GOD can we change it up a little?!
brined duck ready for the oven!
Enter: Duck. An extremely flavorful, rich and delicious bird. It’s exceedingly easy to make and will hoodwink your guests into thinking you labored over it all day. Now, if you’re cooking for 12, I can see why a turkey would appeal to you but my solution is to just make more ducks! And if you’re only cooking for 4-6, you won’t be playing tetris trying to fit everything into the oven to cook. I’ve always been one to mix things up for my Thanksgiving table.
I’m all about incorporating different cultures and recipes into what I bring to the table. If you read my blog at all, you know how much I love Asian flavors and so this duck recipe draws on that a lot. It starts with a soy and black tea brine which ensures that you won’t dry out your duck when you roast it. Then I finish it with a soy-persimmon glaze (I wanted to do a kind of plum sauce, but I guess I missed the season by a couple of weeks so persimmons were an awesome stand in) that is equal parts sweet/savory/tangy and therefore perfect on this duck!
If you’re planning on making this for your Thanksgiving table, see the proposed schedule below. Happy Cooking!
Tuesday morning: get brine together and allow to cool. Pour cooled brine over duck in large ziplock bag (I double bag just in case) and refrigerate.
Wednesday Night 6 pm: Make the persimmon sauce and keep at room temperature. Remove duck from the brine, pat dry, and air cool in the fridge uncovered overnight.
Thursday 12:00 pm: Remove from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. Brush with sauce, season with salt and pepper and roast for 3 hours. Enjoy!
I love a perfectly crisp roasted duck, and it’s so easy to make! Perfect for your next dinner party or your Thanksgiving table!
- 1 peking duck (I use Maple Leaf farms), 4-5 lbs
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 black tea bags
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 3 pieces star anise
- 1 tablespoon whole allspice
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 ripe persimmons, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup soy
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into slices
- To make the brine: Take the boiling water and transfer to a heat safe container. Add the black tea bags, salt and sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow the tea to steep and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the duck and stir to combine. Place the duck in a large 2 gallon ziplock bag (I actually always double bag, just in case). Pour the brine over the duck and make sure it is fully submerged. Transfer to the refrigerator and brine for at least 8 hours, up to 2 days.
- To make the glaze: Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the persimmons are very tender and falling apart and the liquid has reduced by 2/3. Strain the glaze through a fine mesh strainer and press well to get the fruit pulp and all the liquid through, discard the solids. Transfer to an airtight container and store at room temperature. Only refrigerate if waiting longer than 8 hours to use.
- To prepare duck: Remove duck from the brine and pat very dry with paper towels. Transfer to a small baking sheet and return to the fridge uncovered for at least 12 hours.
- To cook duck: Remove duck from the fridge 1 hour before roasting. Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F. Transfer duck to a roasting pan with a wire rack. Transfer half of the glaze to a separate container. Brush the duck with the remaining half of the glaze and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Roast the duck for 3 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining persimmon glaze.
Visit your local butcher to find a good duck. I happen to have a store that has them fresh, but if you can only find them frozen make sure to account for defrosting time.
Persimmons are seasonal in fall/winter. Feel free to substitute plums in instead.