Roasting a duck does not have to be daunting. You may remember I attempted to roast a duck last year when we were in Ireland. No recipe. Iffy oven and no experience resulted in not such a good roast duck. Since then, I have done some research and recently roasted a duck perfectly! Slow roasting at a low temperature is the key.
1 10-12 lb. duck
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Unwrap and remove any ‘guts’ from the duck cavity. Save these for soup stock. Under cold water, rinse duck inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels. Pluck out any quills–you’ll see these especially around the legs. I use tweezers for plucking.
Remove any excess fat or skin. DO NOT throw this away. Duck fat is excellent for frying or flavoring almost anything. It has a high heat-point and gives whatever you are cooking a rich, luscious flavor. To render skin/fat, put it in a saucepan with a little water. Bring to simmer. Cover the pot and gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Strain. Jar. Put in your refrigerator for future use. Duck fat keeps in the fridge for several weeks.
With a very sharp knife, score the skin of the duck being careful not to cut into the flesh; slice just into the skin and layer of fat right under the skin. Make diagonal slashes holding the blade of the knife at an angle, creating a diamond pattern. This helps release the fat while the duck is roasting.
You may want to stuff some aromatics into the duck cavity, such as garlic, sliced onion, apple or orange. I used sliced Gala apple and a couple cloves of garlic.
Truss the legs of the duck just as you would for roasting a chicken using butchers twine. Tuck the wing tips under the duck so they don’t burn while roasting.
Salt/pepper the duck liberally inside and out. Use your hands to rub the seasoning inside and out. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. Put in the preheated oven, breast-side up for 1 hour.
After the first hour, take your duck out of the oven. The skin will still be pale. Using a sharp knife, prick the skin all over, especially around the legs which are more fatty. When pierced, the skin should release some fabulous duck fat. Flip the bird over, so it’s breast-side down. Put it back in the oven. Roast for another hour at 300 degrees bottom side up.
Take it out after the second hour of roasting and repeat previous step piercing the skin all over. Flip the duck and roast for a third hour at 300 degrees breast-side up again.
Repeat one more time (for a total of 4 hours); prick and flip so duck is once again breast-side down.
FINAL STEP: Take your duck out. Prick and flip (now breast-side up). Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Put bird back in for 10 more minutes to finalize the searing. Make a glaze while the duck skin is searing . I made a traditional orange sauce.
ORANGE MARMELADE SAUCE:
3 Tbsp orange marmelade
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup (or more) water
1/2 tsp. Coleman’s mustard
Heat, stirring until well blended. Add more water if the consistency is too thick.
Take the duck out and using a bulb baster very carefully remove as much duck fat as possible from the roasting pan. Add this to the skin/fat you rendered earlier. Brush the duck with glaze. Pop back in for a final 5 minutes. Remove the duck from the oven and take out of the roasting pan. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
4 hours+ sounds like a lot of cooking time, but this duck was tender, moist and really yummy! I served it with twice-baked sweet potatoes with bacon-sesame brittle (recipe coming soon) and pan roasted cauliflower with garlic and ginger.
PAN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
WITH GARLIC AND GINGER
I often roast vegetables in the oven at high heat (400 degrees), but this time tried roasting on top of the stove in a big skillet.
1/2 head cauliflower, slice the flowerettes
1 Tbsp. lemon oil (or regular olive oil)
2 Tbsp. butter
2 large cloves garlic, smashed and diced
1″ fresh ginger root, peeled and diced finely
1 tsp. Victoria Taylor Ginger Citrus seasoning (or 1 tsp. powdered ginger)
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Put all other ingredients into the pan and roast, stirring frequently, at high heat for about 15 minutes or until cauliflower is just tender.
I hope you will try roasting your own duck soon. Domesticated duck is quite mild compared to wild duck and it makes an impressive presentation.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…HAPPY COOKING!