There is nothing like roasted duck when it’s done right: dark, crisp-skinned, and juicy. French cuisine traditionally pairs it with a rich sauce, but I find it so succulent and flavorful that none is needed. A duck makes a perfect dinner for two and preparation is almost as easy as roasting a chicken. Be sure to maintain the original high heat throughout the cooking time. Rub the skin with orange juice, for caramelization. Keep draining off the fat during cooking: put a bowl in the sink and pour the fat into it. (If the duck slips, it will end up in the sink, not on the floor.)
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecrisp, meaty, rich, savory, tangy, tart
- 1 duck, about 5 pounds, gizzard, neck, and wings removed (may be frozen and used for duck stock)
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Juice of ½ orange
- Vegetable Purees
- Wild Rice with Pine Nuts
- Curried Couscous
- The Best Creamed Spinach
- Green and Yellow Squash Ribbons
- Individual Tians of Summer Vegetables
- Apricot and Prune Sauce
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Remove any excess fat from the duck. Season inside and out with salt and pepper and squeeze the orange juice over the breast and legs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Place the duck, breast-side up, in a baking pan large enough to hold it snugly (13 by 9 by 2 inches works well) and roast for 15 minutes. Drain off the rendered fat and turn the duck on its side. Roast 15 minutes, drain again, turn the duck onto its other side, and roast 10 minutes longer. Drain the fat, turn breast-side up, and roast 35 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to rest 10 minutes before carving.
To carve, with a sharp knife, cut off the 2 legs where they join the body (they should come off easily), Then cut down the length of the breastbone and carve the meat away from the bone, on the bias, into 5 or 6 slices.
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1996 Debra Ponzek and Joan Schwartz