Roasting a little fella that's cute, yellow, and chubby...
December 27, 2006 9:34 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite recipe for roasting duck?

My family is a turkey or ham family when it comes to the holidays, but my fiance and I want to have our own holiday dinner soon and thought duck would be a nice main dish.

But neither she nor I know the first thing about cooking a duck -- what seasonings are good, whether or not to marinate it, what dishes go well with it, etc.

Any advice will be helpful, but I'd love to hear about any recipe you've used and enjoyed.

Thanks fellow mefites!
posted by ztdavis to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm quite partial to twice-cooked duck* - the first time around, the duck gets roasted in chicken stock (or water), which moistly cooks the meat through; and the second time, it's roasted dry, which makes the skin crispy.

Mmm. Crispy skin.

(Oh, and for bonus points, if you stash the stock the duck was cooked in, in the fridge, over night; you end up with a layer of delicious duck fat floating on top which is fanfabulous for roasting potatoes or for sauteeing mushrooms.)

* Beware of metric temperatures in the recipe
posted by ambilevous at 10:06 PM on December 27, 2006

I live in Beijing. The world capital of roast duck and let me tell you, folks, it is friggin' unreal here! Crispy skin dripping with succulent juices, oy vey, I could plotz and I'm a goy so I don't even know why I suddenly switched into Yiddish there! Suffice to say, it's good.

Basically, in short what they do here is briefly boil(blanche) a whole duck and hang it to dry for a few hours. Then they put it in an oven (at about 300 for 45 minutes and then about 450 for 15 minutes) and continuously paint it with a mixture of soy sauce and honey until it is golden brown.

Then you eat it on little pancakes with plum sauce and some green onion. Oh, god, I'm getting a little flushed just thinking about it.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:14 PM on December 27, 2006 [2 favorites]

i do a duck 1-2 times a month.
if it doesn't have to be an elaborate visual presentation, cut it up first and roast the pieces. this takes less cooking time due to the greater surface area. roast as much as you think you can eat, roast the rest the next day. after rinsing and thoroughly patting dry, score the skin with a knife tip to let the fat out while cooking, sprinkle with freshly ground pepper, and when it's done, serve with pomegranate jelly and wild rice cooked in duck stock.
save the back and neck for making stock. everything from the duck can be used in some way, even the fat, good for cooking potatoes as previously noted, and also good for making duck confit, which is duck slowly cooked while buried in duck fat; the finished product is surprisingly non-fatty and has crispy skin.
another thing you can try: get a brown paper shopping bag slightly larger than the duck and roast the duck in the bag, which will help keep the moisture in the vicinity of the duck, making it juicier.
posted by bruce at 11:06 PM on December 27, 2006

Another vote for a wet method followed by a dry method. (I got my method from Mark Bittman and Alton Brown.) I usually marinate the duck overnight in a fairly assertive marinade (soy sauce, vinegar or citrus juice, garlic, ginger). Then I steam it for 45 minutes or so to render off most of the fat. Pat it dry and stick in in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to cool and dry out. Bring it back to room temperature and roast it on a rack at 400 degrees until it the skin is brown and crispy, about half an hour.

You say you're cooking for two, but for future reference, remember that a duck doesn't go as far as a chicken of the same weight. You can feed four people with one large duck, but only if you have a lot of sides.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:58 PM on December 27, 2006

Best answer: We cooked duck for our Xmas dinner as we don't like turkey particularly.

We cleaned the bird, stuffed it with apple quarters, salt, pepper and parsley and a *little* bit of honey. I mean little! You don't want the thing to taste of honey. You don't have to eat the apples afterwards if you don't like to but they seem to bring out the duck's own flavours nicely.

We seasoned the outside with salt and pepper and drizzled a *little* bit of honey on the skin,too.

We cooked the bird for 2 hours in the oven (tray covered with kitchen foil), then took the foil off and cooked it for another 30 minutes or so without. Duck was 5-6lbs - we got it from a farmer so there was no label and our kitchen scales only go to 4lbs...the oven should be hot but not too hot.

You should check after an hour or so as there will be a lot of fat coming out of the duck which you will have to drain.

It was absolutely delicious, lovely and moist yet the skin was beatifully crisp...

Any leftover duck would be nice in stir fry...
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:21 AM on December 28, 2006

I saw a couple of minutes of this a month or so back. I'm not usually a fan of the TV food shows, but smoky tea is a nice flavoring with duck and this seemed time consuming but possibly worth trying for a special occasion. Other tea + roast + duck recipes easily googleable.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 7:05 AM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: The following "wet" method melts out all the fat, so you don't have to prick the skin. It works wonderfully on even a very fat goose, let alone a duck.

Put the fat you removed at the beginning with the poured-off liquid and boil it down for other uses, including frying up the liver as a reward for the cook.

1 large duck, giblets, neck and cavity fat removed
1 large peeled onion
1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cut off the last two wing joints and spread them, the neck, heart and gizzard on the bottom of a roasting pan only slightly larger than the bird.

3. Rub the bird inside and outside with salt, pepper and caraway seeds, stuff the onion in the cavity and put the bird, untrussed and breast up, on the bed of giblets. Add water halfway up the side of the bird.

4. Cover and cook until done. Begin checking at 1 hour. It's done when you can pull the legs in opposite directions and they don't spring back.

5. Pour off the water and fat and return the pan, uncovered, to the oven for 10 minutes to dry and crisp the skin.
posted by KRS at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: Alton Brown's recipe from his "Mighty Duck" episode is magnificent and not too difficult, provided that you have a cast iron pan -- if you don't, this would be a good excuse to get one (they're cheap and, if treated right, become better with age and can be passed on for generations). The skin comes out crisp and you eliminate a lot of the subcutaneous fat that often mars duck recipes.

If you go with this recipe, I would highly recommend also making the side dish of greens (the recipe calls for Swiss Chard, but you could do just about anything -- spinach, kale, etc.). It adds about two minutes to the process, avoids wasting precious duck fat, and really complements the duck. If you don't have sherry vinegar, you can use red wine, balsamic, or even plain white vinegar. Apple cider vinegar could be interesting too, although I've never tried it.
posted by lionelhutz5 at 9:34 AM on December 28, 2006

Best answer: This is my recipe for my untraditional Roast Duck L'Orange. I'm going to leave out most of the roasting instructions because many people have already offered excellent ones. I use a straight dry method all the way without having a problem with crisping or fat, but I do have to shield the wings and drumstick tips with foil to keep them from getting burnt to a crisp before the breast cooks all the way through. Also, the Blood Orange and Cara Cara Orange both have a lovely red color that looks great on the roast duck, but the sauce turns out golden, so I don't think it would be a terrible thing if you substituted other types of oranges.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Marinating Liquid:

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp A1
1 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tbs apple cider vinegar

Remove giblets and marinate for 2-12 hours. Rinse, pat dry inside and outside, and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub down with:

Basting Liquid

1/4 cup juice of the Blood Orange and Cara Cara Orange
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbs honey
2 tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
liberal amounts of:
chile powder
garlic powder
black pepper

Roast for 45 minutes breast side up; then flip, drain body cavity of fat and baste again. Roast for 45 more minutes, and then check; it may need a bit more time depending on what size duck you have.

Orange Sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup Blood Orange and Cara Cara Orange Sauce
2 tbs Rolling Rock, Corona, or similar beer
1 cup duck or chicken sauce(some of this can be comprised of drippings if you get anything but fat out of your duck-I didn't)
1/2 tsp orange zest
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs honey
2 tbs apricot preserves/"duck sauce"
leftover basting liquid

1/2 tbs cornstarch mixed with 1 tbs cold water

Heat everything but the cornstarch in a saucepan. The basting liquid has been contaminated by the raw duck, so you need to make sure this gets to and stays at a boil for a few minutes. Add the cornstarch. It will thicken as it cools, but it's nor meant to get especially viscous.

One of the nicest parts of this recipe is the leftovers-try dressing a bed of romaine with the cold orange sauce and putting some chopped, warmed duck on top.
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:06 AM on December 29, 2006

1 cup duck or chicken sauce(some of this can be comprised of drippings if you get anything but fat out of your duck-I didn't)

stock, not sauce
posted by Juliet Banana at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2006

Another out-there but delicious add to duck is chocolate. A simple salt and peppered duck can be made quite exotic by melting some dark chocolate and brushing it onto the skin in the final stages of roasting.
posted by mek at 9:52 PM on December 29, 2006

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