Cardiologists look away this recipe is not for the faint hearted. Now it is not the duck that is the issue, it's the mlinci, which are mixed through the duck fat that renders out of the duck during baking that would cause concern. But once a year this dish is fabulous, absolutely fabulous, and we enjoy every single bite. Mlinci are the ultimate comfort food, they are delicious.
I first had this on a trip to Croatia and my mother in law made it for us, she is from Međimurje. I was hooked, it was delicious.
Mlinci are always fabulous, it is after all pasta dough that is fried first, no oil, then you pour boiling salted water over them, then you mix it with duck fat, and bake it, think roasted potatoes in duck fat, but better.
As for the duck I have made it a few times and just never got it right, the duck was dry or tough, but not now, I have finally got the duck roasted to perfection, where the meat is soft and delicious. The simplicity of the ingredients in this dish, means that you really need to get the duck cooked right.
This is something my mother in law would serve for Christmas, it's cold outside and this dish would be perfect. My daughter has been asking me to make this for a while, so this year I thought I would make it for Easter, a special occasion that deserved a special dish. I'm so glad I did, it was perfect.
I served it with sauerkraut. All I did there is sautéed an onion until translucent, then added 2 tablespoons tomato paste, then added a 800g jar of sauerkraut, 1 teaspoon vegeta and season with salt and pepper. I gently sautéed that for about 30 minutes, adding 1/3 cup of water every now and then to ensure it doesn't burn and helps cook the sauerkraut. As the water evaporates, just add more.
I love traditional family recipes, I love that I continued this from my mother in law, and I can see my daughter will be continuing the family tradition for years to come.
400g pasta flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 x 1.9kg duck
1 large red apple, peeled, cored
salt and pepper, to taste
2 onions, peeled, halved
3-4 tablespoons sunflower oil
Make the mlinci: Place the flour on a board or on your kitchen bench and make a well in the centre.
Crack the eggs into the well, add the salt. Then with a fork, mix the egg into the flour, don’t worry if there are lumps in the dough, there will be. Keep mixing, add the water, little by little, say a tablespoon at a time, until you have a dough that just forms, put it on a flat surface and knead together, for about 5 minutes or until you have a silky, smooth, elastic dough. You are aiming to achieve a playdough texture. If your dough is crumbly (too dry) add a teaspoon more water. If the dough sticks to your hands (too wet) add a little extra flour.
Cover with cling film and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Cut off portions of the dough, and roll the dough portion as thin as you can, about 1mm thick. Roughly cut up the dough into pieces say, 10cm x 5cm, I seriously don't measure this, some pieces I cut into triangles. Continue with another portion until you have rolled out and cut up all your dough.
Now heat up a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a few pieces of the dough to the dry frying pan, fry until the dough is cooked and has a few dark spots, flip and cook the other side. Place on a plate while you cook the remaining dough.
Rinse duck with cold water, including the cavity. Let water drain out of cavity, dry skin with paper towels.
Place the apple inside the cavity. Season duck with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place 2 tablespoons of the oil in a baking dish. Place duck breast side down in baking dish, pour over the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add onion halves, next to the duck, in the baking dish.
Place in your preheated oven for 20 minutes. Now turn the duck over so the breasts are on top and continue baking for 1 hour.
Increase the heat to 170C/150C fan forced, continue roasting the duck for a further 1 hour, every 20 minutes or so baste the duck with the fat that is in the base of the baking dish.
While the duck is roasting bring a pot of salted water to the boil.
Once the meat is cooked and soft, the skin browned, remove from the oven, drain the cavity liquid into the baking dish, place duck on a chopping board.
Tear up the mlinci into smaller pieces and place in a colander. Pour over the boiling water, tossing the mlinci about as you pour the boiling water over it. Break up the onion in the baking dish and place the mlinci into the baking dish, mix it through the duck fat and onion and keep mixing it until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the mlinci.
Cut up the duck into serving size pieces, place over the mlinci in the baking dish, skin side up. Place back in the oven for 10 minutes. If the skin has not browned, evenly, just turn on the grill for 5 minutes to make sure all the skin has browned.
Serve duck and mlinci straight away. I served it with some sauerkraut.
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