George Mikes was a Hungarian journalist who came to England and ended up staying and becoming British and writing a series of humorous books, most famous of which, perhaps, was the 1946 “How to be an Alien”, in which he poked gentle fun at the English, including a one-line chapter on sex: “Continental people have sex lives, the English have hot-water bottles.” In one of his other books, possibly his autobiography, I remember being very amused by an episode he recounted on the subject of turkey. George Mikes and friends got to eat a very good turkey indeed and the question that gnawed at him post prandially was: why do people eat turkey only at Christmas? Is it not good at any other time of the year?
I suspect it’s because the cooking of a turkey dangles loomingly in front of any home-maker as a task requiring nerves of steel and a fighting fit constitution. So I would never dream of suggesting turkey as the bird of choice for a Sunday roast. But what about duck? There is a way of cooking duck that is very easy and makes for a perfectly succulent bird. Accompanied by roast potatoes, this roast duck could sometimes take the place of chicken or beef for the traditional British Sunday roast. Yes? No? Maybe?
Try it and tell me!
Cover with a lid and steam for 40 minutes. Then, remove the duck and place in a hot oven (200°C) to cook for about another 40 minutes. Sprinkle salt and freshly milled pepper first. That’s all, nothing else is required.
This is what’s left behind in the steamer after the duck has been removed. This is liquid gold. Heat it up again and boil some potatoes in it for 5 minutes. Then drain. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the potatoes, and add salt, and put them in the oven to roast alongside the duck. That’s it! Done!
Thus, as George Mikes might have written: why is it that we don’t eat duck for Sunday’s roast?