By Debbie Apple
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The biggest issue causing the US to trail woefully behind France in duck consumption is the fact that recipes like Duck A L’orange and Duck Confit, while exotic sounding and quite delicious, are also intimidating.  Don’t forget that, just like Bruce Dickinson barking for more cowbell, the French put their proverbial pants on one leg at a time too and aside from the foreign sounding accent and the occasional grave accent, French cooking is easy and in most instances can be tout à fait provincial.  If roasting a whole duck seems like a feat extraordinaire, you can always start out with duck breast, legs or wings and, for the most amazing broth ever, throw duck bones in the pot in place of chicken or beef and reserve for the best of the best soups and gravies.

Here I am pulling from my old blog post Roasting Duck 101. Bon Appétit

There’s a world of intense flavor to be discovered when you choose to roast a duck instead of taking the tried-and-true path with chicken. Yet many cooks find duck intimidating.

The reason, in a word, is fat. Ducks wear a thick coat of it, and fatty skin is not a pretty prospect. Not to worry. After using our guide to roasting a duck, you’ll have a crisp, bronzed bird ready for carving. Some of the duck fat will baste the meat. The rest of this liquid gold can be spooned off to cook with in the future (think roasted vegetables or duck confit). See our Duck Fat description in our store for more information on this healthy fat.

A word about the varieties of duck most commonly available: Muscovy very often has a strong flavor that tends toward gamy, while the Pekin, which is what we raise here on the farm, is milder.

Here is the basic technique for perfect roast duck from Martha Stewart.  You can also find this in our recipe section HERE

Tools and Materials

  • 1 whole duck (5 to 6 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips with Chili Powder (optional)
  • Kitchen shears or a sharp paring knife
  • Roasting pan
  • Carving knife

How-To Roast a Duck 101

1. Line bottom of the oven with foil to catch any spatters. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in second-lowest position. Rinse duck in cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Use kitchen shears or a sharp paring knife to cut away fatty deposits and excess skin around the neck area and just inside the bird’s cavity.

2. Cut through the last joint of wings to remove wing tips, and place them in roasting pan with the neck (which is usually included with giblets by the butcher). Place wing tips and neck in a large roasting pan fitted with a rack.

3. Hold a narrow paring knife almost flat against duck’s skin and make shallow pricks everywhere but drumsticks. Don’t forget the areas where the thighs join the body. Score skin of breast in a crosshatch pattern. Season inside and outside of duck with pepper and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt.

4. Use a light touch with a paring knife to gently crosshatch skin’s top layer on breast side to facilitate the release of fat. Be careful not to cut all the way through the skin into flesh.

5. Place duck, breast side up, on a rack in pan. Roast for 50 minutes.

6. Remove pan from oven. Set duck on a rack in a sink or over a towel to catch drips. Spoon off excess fat from pan; strain, and reserve 1/4 cup if making roasted vegetables. Tilt duck to drain, pouring juices from cavity into roasting pan. To ensure even browning, turn duck twice during roasting. Use paper towels to lift bird from pan. Return duck, breast side down, on the rack to pan. Roast for 50 minutes.

7. Flip duck, breast side up, and roast until duck registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 50 minutes more. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Spoon off fat from roasting pan (reserve if desired). Carefully tilt duck, and pour accumulated juices from cavity into pan. Reserve neck and wing tips in the pan with juices if making a pan sauce.

8. After the duck has rested, place it breast side down on a carving board, and cut along both sides of the backbone.

9. Flip duck breast side up. Slice along the ridge of the breastbone to remove meat. When you get to the thigh bone, sever the joint. Remove wings if desired.

10. Separate leg quarters from the breast. Slice breast into serving pieces. Sever joint between leg and thigh.

11. Serve duck with roasted vegetables, and drizzle with pan sauce.

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