Lilikoʻi Glazed Roast Duck - Never Change

I've read and enjoyed several of Elizabeth Berg's novels, and this book is definitely one of her best.  Never Change - is a winner, with totally engaging, if occasionally frustrating characters (as in real life) who finally face their need for change in a sometimes sad, lovely, and inspiring story.
From Publisher's Weekly:

Myra Lipinski has been lonely all her life; she trained as a nurse "because I knew it would be a way for people to love me." Now 51, she lives alone with her dog and works as a visiting nurse in Boston, caring for an array of eccentrics that includes the feuding Schwartz couple, the feisty DeWitt Washington and the anxious teenage mother Grace.

Resigned to spinsterhood, Myra is secretly thrilled when her agency assigns her to care for a former crush, Chip Reardon, who has returned to his parents' home with end-stage brain cancer. In high school, Chip was a golden boy, athletic and clever, out of ugly duckling Myra's league. Now, though, he and Myra strike up a friendship based on their mutual loneliness and on Chip's resistance to his parents, who want him to pursue aggressive treatment for his cancer. Chip prefers to die peacefully, a decision that only Myra seems to understand.

Anything further would be a spoiler, though we might add the moral of the story - do make changes as needed. Myra grew up believing she was the ugly duckling. Is this a segue? Ha ha ...Yes, I take them wherever I can. The roast duck because we need to roast our ugly, false preconceptions in life. :) And this is a messy photo, right out of the oven. The recipe (though not my selection for our book pick) is courtesy of current Cook the Books Club author, Ruth Reichl, from her edited Gourmet Today.Cookbook. We are now reading her memoir, Garlic and Sapphires - a plug for you to join in.

This duck has the attitude we want - crispy outside and moist inside. Reichl shares her trick for accomplishing that, and I add my Hawaiian bit - the passion fruit (liliko'i) glaze. She says: "A whole roasted duck doesn't have to be fussy. With hardly any work at all and just a few hours in the oven, you can have a juicy bird with crisp skin - the best of both textures. The trick is the water - not only does it keep the meat moist, it helps prevent the fat from spattering." And, as you may have noticed, some big chunks of butternut squash can be added for the last 1/3 of the cooking time. Just turn a bit to coat with some of the lovely duck drippings.

Crisp Roast Duck with Liliko'i Glaze

1 (5-6 lb.) Pekin duck (I used what I could find here - not a great selection in Hawaii)
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup Passion fruit syrup

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425 F.
If necessary, cut off wing tips from duck with poultry shears or sharp knife. Remove and discard excess fat from body cavity and neck and rinse duck inside and out. Prick skin all over with a sharp fork. Fold neck skin under body and put duck breast side up on a rack in a 13x9 inch roasting pan. Pour boiling water over duck (to tighten skin). Cool duck.

Pour any water from cavity into pan; leave water in pan. Pat duck dry inside and out, then rub inside and out with salt and pepper.

Roast duck breast side up for 45 minutes. Turn duck over using two wooden spoons and roast for 45 minutes more. Turn duck over again (breast side up), tilting duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Pour and spread the passion fruit syrup over top to glaze. If you are going to add squash or potatoes, this would be the time. Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes more (for a total roasting time of about 2 1/4 hours).

Tilt duck to drain any liquid from cavity into pan. Transfer duck to a cutting board (discard liquid in roasting pan) and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Fantastic served with a crisp salad and the roasted squash.

All to be shared over at Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking event. Be sure to go visit, and see what everyone's reading and cooking, or join in with your own post.


Mae Travels said...

You have hit a painful point for me: I can't seem to find any passionfruit syrup other than on the web at very inflated prices. And I LOVE the flavor of passionfruit from many visits to Hawaii. It sounds fabulous on roast duck.

Lucky you!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Claudia said...

Our vines produce a lot each year Mae, so I make enough for Christmas gifts as well as for us. Next time you're in Hawaii!

judee said...

sounds like a good story . My husband loves roast duck but I've never made it- he orders it when we go out

Deb in Hawaii said...

I have read several of Berg's books but not this one for some reason. It sounds good.
I love your addition of the lilikoi glaze--it looks like a delicious meal. ;-)

Beth F said...

Both the book and the dish sound awesome. I've been meaning to reread all of Reichl's memoirs but I know I don't have the time to join this round.

Carole said...

Duck and passiofruit - great idea. Have a great week. Cheers from Carole's Chatter