Walking through the grocery store the other day, I noticed a section in the meat coolers with frozen ducks! I’ve never seen a duck in the regular grocery store, I thought you had to go to specialty stores so I was intrigued. Taking a leap of faith (I’d never cooked duck) I decided to purchase one! It wasn’t as expensive as I assumed it would be, about $17 for a 6lb duck.
I assumed roasting a duck would be similar to roasting a chicken, and it is. If you are a new duck roaster, don’t be nervous! Its SO easy! Please forgive the lack of photos in this post, I didn’t think I wanted to post this recipe due to possibly ruining it. lol
1 Duck – thawed and insides taken out. Use any size you want
6 Garlic Cloves
2 Packs of whole Mushrooms of your choice, halved (I used baby bellas)
4 Large Carrots – cleaned and chopped largely
1 Large Onion – Quartered
1/2 Bag of Brussels Sprouts
6 Red Potatoes – Quartered
Garlic Herb Butter – optional
4Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
3Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Orange Sauce – found randomly in the asian aisle in my store, not a necessity
First and foremost, you want to rinse and pat dry your Duck. Make sure all of the innards are out, sometimes they’re in a bag but not always. Next you’ll want to trim the excess skin off from the tail side – sorry I don’t have a photo of this, but its very clear which side that is once you get it open.
Ducks have a fairly thick layer of fat under their skin and above the meat. This. Is. GOLD.
Taking a VERY sharp knife (doesn’t matter what size as long as its really sharp) you want to score your duck in a diamond shape. Hold your knife at an angle (not straight up and down) to the duck. With slight pressure you want to cut into the skin and fat but N O T into the meat. You can almost follow the small holes from where the feathers used to be (eek weird to think about, I know). Make lines across the duck one way, then turn the duck and do them to create a largish hatch/diamond pattern.
Rub the duck down, on all sides, with sea salt, add the whole garlic cloves and some of the garlic butter to the cavity, and truss the legs with twine, tucking the wings under the bird.
You’ll need a cooling rack that can sit atop a deep casserole dish. Make SURE before you start this process that the duck fits within the edges of that dish, as it will be catching all of the goodness coming out.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees while you prepare all of your veggies in a deep casserole dish, season generously with salt and pepper. I didn’t coat mine in any oil, due to the fat that will drip form the duck. When it is in the oven, middle rack, it will look like this:
Here is the key to getting your duck beautiful and golden. FLIP IT and PRICK IT! Set your timer for an hour, have a paring knife on hand, and some oven mitts you don’t mind getting a little messy. When the first hour is up you will pull the oven rack out as far as it will come, no need to pull the whole setup out of the oven and all that. Take your paring knife and begin pricking the skin all over, not too deep though! You just want to allow more of the juice and fat to be released.
Now, SLOWLY, using your mitts, pick up the bird and pour out the juice from the middle INTO the casserole dish. Then flip the bird to the other side. Put it all back in the oven and set your timer for another hour.
My bird was done in about 2.5hrs. The juices will run clear, and the skin will be nice and golden brown. At this point you can take the whole bird and veggies out. Set the bird and rack on a pan with shallow sides.
And now for the key ingredient to that crispy duck skin we all love so much – turn the heat up to 500 degrees and put it back in the oven, without the veggies. Let it sizzle for a good 5-10min.
Take out and drizzle with your hoisin/soy/orange sauce, let stand for 10min. I served this duck with the veggies and wild rice. Most recipes say not to carve your duck, but to put the whole duck on the table and let everyone pull the meat off. My husband and I weren’t really into that idea, so he carved it for us. You could also serve this with the traditional pancakes and green onion! I’ll do that next time.
I hope you enjoy this duck recipe as much as we did! I will definitely be making it again soon!!!
*******You thought we were done here, huh? Not quite!! SAVE THAT CARCASS! Save the wings, and save the extra duck fat and whole garlic cloves! You can make a delicious soup! My husband added all of the leftovers – rice, bones, veggies, and fat to a stock pot with chicken broth, water, red wine, and a couple spicy sausages cut up. Simmered it for a few hours and ta-da! SOUP!
We saved it for the next day and added glass noodles. Perfect for a cold SoCal day!