Roast Duck

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Fresh whole duck is becoming easier to find in grocery stores these days, and yet I’m not sure most people are quite comfortable with the idea of roasting one. If you’re duck-curious, give it a go – the only difference, really, is that you need to poke holes in the skin before you stick it in the oven, to allow the excess layer of fat under the skin to render off. (This is why ducks look perfectly content paddling around in freezing rivers at this time of year – my own built-in insulation doesn’t seem to have the same effect.) As a bonus, you get to pour those drippings off into a jar and keep them in the fridge to roast potatoes with. Duck fat is like liquid gold – in fact you’d pay more for a teeny jar of it at many gourmet shops as you would for an entire duck.

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People tend to associate duck with l’orange, a fancy-pants restaurant item that was trendy in the ’60s, so if you want to tuck a halved orange in the cavity, add it along with a handful of fresh herbs. I like to add these after a bit of time in the oven, so that they don’t start flavouring the fat – but if you don’t mind, go ahead and tuck it all in right off the bat. And if you want to roast some veg – potatoes and root veggies work well – toss them around in the rendered fat already in the bottom of the pan about halfway through the cooking time.

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Roast Duck

Recipe link

  

December 16, 2016

Ingredients

1 whole duck

olive or canola oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 orange, quartered

fresh rosemary, thyme and/or sage

new potatoes and carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)

Directions

1Preheat the oven to 450F. Pat the duck dry with paper towel and place in a roasting pan. Poke through the skin-without going into the meat-with a bamboo skewer or the tip of a knife in several places. (Do this by pulling up on the skin and poking it through as if you were threading fabric - these holes allow the excess fat under a duck's skin to render off in the oven.) Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you like, tuck the orange and herbs into the cavity – otherwise wait for halfway through the roasting time, after you’ve poured off some of the fat for later use - this way the fat will remain unflavoured.

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3Roast the duck for 30 minutes, then remove the duck from the oven and pour most of the fat from the pan into a jar (store in the fridge for up to a month). Stuff the orange and herbs into the cavity, add diced potatoes and 1-inch chunks of carrot to the pan if you like, reduce the heat to 350F and return to the oven to roast for 1 1/2-2 hours, until the legs wiggle in their sockets and a meat thermometer reads at least 175F. Let the duck rest 15 minutes before carving. Serves 4.

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