Since I’m on a potatoes-and-Tracy-Hickman kick from my recipe for Otik’s Spiced Potatoes, I thought I’d post a recipe involving both. Ever heard of Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues? No? Well, if you remember the Ultima games and Ultima Online, let me introduce you to their MMO spiritual successor full of questing, crafting, and, you guessed it, cooking.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Darkstarr Smoked Duck.
Shroud of the Avatar
I admit it. I’m not that much of an MMO player. I used to play World of Warcraft back when Burning Crusade and Cataclysm were a thing, but slow internet and a subscription fee killed the enjoyment for me. Other MMOs weren’t as flexible with solo play, and the personalities I met were toxic.
A friend of mine introduced me to Shroud of the Avatar, though, and after a few plays, I got hooked. Created by Richard Garriott, creator of the Ultima series of computer games, Starr Long, director of Ultima Online, and Tracy Hickman, author of the Dragonlance series, you play as one of the prophesized “Avatars” from Earth who will restore virtues to a shattered world. While not possessing the fanciest graphics in the world, SotA’s classless character creation allows you to figure out a playstyle that works for you.
That’s right, very much in the Dungeon Siege games’ style, you develop skills as you use them. SotA also allows a training system where your skills advance faster if you have a grandmaster of that skill in your party. This often encourages higher-level players to interact and welcome new players. Combat aside, the player-run economy supports the crafting of everything from weapons to furniture. And the customization options are insane where you can make your sofa sparkle or sell your short stories as books in-game.
Since this is a food blog, you’ll be happy to know there is a cooking skill. And yes, I did start making recipes. This first one is for the smoked duck we had over the holidays.
Ready your Cooking Stations…
Darkstarr Smoked Duck in Shroud of the Avatar offers a steady boost to your health and focus for four hours. Granted — it will take you longer to make this dish because deliciousness is a patient affair. The game recipe calls for duck meat, wine of either color, salt, and sugar. I wanted a little more than that.
Pine and maple serve as the two main craft wood types in SotA. The first turns to toxic tar in a smoker, so I used maple wood — both chips and pellets are fine depending on your machine.
With duck, a dry brine the night before keeps the bird moist. So I bathed that sucker with maple syrup before seasoning it with other SotA harvestables garlic, salt, and cinnamon. A lemon stuffed in the cavity also boosts this aromatic dish.
Duck is fatty. They need to be for flotation. Not to worry, though. Fat means flavor. So after smoking the bird, you will be broiling that excess liquid gold into a bed of red onions, carrots, and fingerling potatoes. Broiling also makes the skin crispy and flavorful – especially after glazing it with sugar and vermouth.
Sing for your Supper!
If you plan to cook the recipes off the site, keep scrolling. However, while access to recipes on the blog will always be free, I also have printable PDF recipe cards and thematic cook-along Spotify playlists as rewards for those who choose to support the blog.
The printable recipe card and playlist for Shroud of the Avatar-inspired Darkstarr Smoked Duck will be available as a $2 donor reward on my Ko-Fi page until the next post goes up.
You can instead join my Patreon community at the “Sing for your Supper” level ($1/month) for access to the playlists or the “It’s All in the Cards” level ($5/month) or higher for access to ALL of my blog recipe cards and playlists. Patrons of all reward tiers will even receive a welcome gift of my Lord of the Rings recipe cards and playlists from January 2019 to get you started.
Darkstarr Smoked Duck
Equipment: Smoker, wooden skewer, refrigerator pastry brush, large roasting pan with a rack, aluminum foil, paper towels, smoking probe thermometer, small saucepan, wire whisk, oven, stovetop, and maple wood smoking chips.
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 5-6 lb whole duck, neck and giblets removed
- 2 Tb maple syrup
- 1-2 lemons, quartered
- 1.5 lbs fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 2-3 carrots, 1-inch cubed
- 1 red onion, 1/2-inch sliced
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dry vermouth
- 2 Tb fresh chopped rosemary
- olive oil
Brine the Duck:
- Pierce the skin of the duck with the pointed end of the skewer in one-inch intervals. Make sure to go through the skin and fat, but not the meat.
- Pat the inside and outside of the bird dry with paper towels, then brush the entire outside with maple syrup.
- Blend the kosher salt in a bowl with half the cinnamon and garlic powder. Sprinkle the mixture to cover the skin on all sides.
- Stuff the cavity with lemon quarters and place the bird on the rack in a foil-lined roasting pan. Refrigerate uncovered at least 4 hours to overnight.
Make the Glaze:
Pour the vermouth, sugar, and remaining garlic and cinnamon into the saucepan and set over the stovetop over low heat. Whisk until dissolved, turn off the heat, and cover to keep warm.
Smoke the Duck:
- Set your smoker up according to the manufacturer’s directions. Preheat to 275°F, then add the wood chips. Pour an inch of water into the water pan before adding it to the smoker.
- Brush the excess salt off the duck and pat the skin dry with paper towels. Insert the probe thermometer into the bird’s thigh. Baste the duck with a layer of glaze, then place it directly on the smoker’s rack.
- Smoke the bird, adding chips as necessary until the thermometer reaches 157°F. Remove from smoker and tent on a carving board to keep warm.
Finish the dish:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the potatoes and carrots in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Spread in a single layer in the roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and set the rack into the pan. Turn the oven on a low broil. Place the duck on the rack and cover the vegetables with foil. Leave at least an inch between the duck and veggies uncovered.
- Baste the duck with another layer of glaze, then broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the skin.
- Transfer the duck to a carving board and tent with foil to keep warm. Turn off the broil and return the oven to 400°F. Remove the rack from the pan. Then toss the onions and rosemary in with the veggies. Return the pan to the oven to roast another 10 minutes.
- Carve the duck and serve with roasted vegetables.