A Cook's Diary

A Christmas Eve story

My husband bought two ducklings late last week — one for Christmas Eve and the other for New Year’s Eve. I started thawing the first duckling in the fridge as early as December 23rd. On the morning of December 24th, I seasoned the bird inside out. By 4.00 p.m., I put in the oven so that it would be ready for dinner. Half an hour later, the kitchen was bathed in smoke — the kind that stings the eye. I didn’t understand what was going on. I was just roasting the duckling; I wasn’t smoking it.

It turned out that the drip pan wasn’t catching all the fat that was dripping from the duckling. See, I’m kinda primitive when it comes to roasting. I don’t have a roasting tin — the kind that comes with its own rack and dripping pan. I just place whatever I’m roasting on the oven rack and place a large pan beneath it to catch the drippings. Well, it didn’t work this time. The drip pan was too far below and the duckling was so fat that the oil was bouncing from the dripping pan and onto the oven floor.

The roast duckling came out fine, nonetheless. We had it for Christmas Eve dinner with some herb-loaded rice. We had the leftover duck meat and some smoked ham for our noche buena meal. We’re not big on noche buena unlike most Filipino families. We just have a special dinner on Christmas Eve and just pick on whatever is on the table after.

casaveneracion.com smoked ham

The real story is that I spent hours and hours afterwards, and all through the following day, cleaning out the oven. The mess that the duck fat made was unbelievable. Needless to say, I’ve learned my lesson — I’m going to buy a real roasting tin before the New Year.

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