If Renée and I find slaughtering chickens more useful than terrifying, what else might we kill? I was only half-joking when I suggested that on the way home from Vermont we stop in New Hampshire to buy a rifle. And I wasn’t joking at all when I asked my brother if he could set me up with his gun and some tin cans the next time I’m out in Colorado. So far, the closest any of this has gotten to home were the stories of pheasant hunting as a kid that Renée’s husband Dave told us when I revealed to him my fantasy of two women, three kids, and a dead deer trudging out of the New England woods on their way to racks of venison. Slowly conceding to reality, I agreed that the most likely thing I’ll ever shoot at is a duck, and the most likely way I’ll cook a duck in the near future is by buying one at the grocery store. But I’m not giving up my dreams – this is just a trial run for that fantastic fowl I’ll make drop from the sky one day.
Rub a 3-4 pound duck with 1 garlic, sliced in half, 1 sliced hot pepper, and about 2 T tamari, in that order. Stuff with the garlic and one apple, quartered and stuck with 4-6 cloves per quarter. Set in a roasting pan and roast at 400-425 for about 1 hour, or until the meat reaches 170 degrees at the bone. Remove from oven, spread with plum sauce, and let sit about 10 minutes before carving.
While the bird is cooking, prepare the Plum Sauce
Bring to a boil 6 plums, halved and seeded, with 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar and ¼ cup sugar. Simmer on low until the duck is almost done. Strain the sauce, then stir in two shallots, which you have diced and sautéed until almost caramelized. Spread about half of the sauce over the duck, and put the rest in a gravy tureen to serve with the meal.
SAUTEED BABY BOK CHOY
While the bird is cooling, cook the baby bok choy. Heat a wok with 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil to very hot. Toss in 1 garlic clove, sliced thin, and about 1” of ginger, peeled and sliced thin or cut into matchsticks. Toss for about 1 minute. Then add in 4 heads of baby bok choy (cut off bottom of stem to separate leaves, rinse, and dry partially first) and 1 T tamari. Toss frequently for about 3 minutes, or until bok choy just starts to wilt.
Serve with rice.