Whole Roasted Duck w/Black Plums+Spices

7 Jul

Sometimes, we find ourselves in a little protein rut.  What else can we eat besides beef, chicken, pork and fish?  Last night, David and I went shopping at Whole Foods and felt such a rut.  What protein should we eat for dinner?  When we saw a whole duck (last one, it appeared) and some lovely looking organic black plums,we found our inspiration and challenge: whole roast duck with black plums and spices!

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for duck legs, I came up with a recipe that worked out quite nicely.


  • One whole duck (about 4.5 lbs), anti-biotic free
  • 3 red onions, cut into quaters
  • 4 shallots, cut in halves
  • 5 black plums, halved and pitted
  • 6 garlic cloves, whole and skin on
  • 6 star anise
  • 1 juice orange, pierced all around with a fork


  • 4 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp organic olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 juice orange, juiced
  • 1 habañero, deseeded and finely minced

Water (4 cups)

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Boil 2 cups of water.  Clean and pat dry the duck; cut off any excess fat around the neck and cavity .  With a sharp, small knife, pierce the skin all over.  Put the duck in a pan, and pour the boiling water all over the duck to shrink the skin.

Take the duck out of the pan and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.

In a roasting pan, place the duck neck and, in the center, red onions and shallots.  (I don’t have a rack, so I used the onions to act as a “rack” for the duck — you can also use carrots or celery.)

Place the duck over the red onions and shallots.  Place the whole orange (pierced) in the cavity.  Place the plums, garlic cloves and star anise around the duck.

Tuck the wings under, and tie the legs together.

Mix together the marinade and pour over the duck.

Put the duck in the oven.  Roast at this temperature (425F) for 45 minutes — after the first 15 minutes, add a cup of water to the roasting pan (which will deglaze the bottom of the pan).  Baste the duck every 10 minutes or so for the remaining 30 minutes.

After the first 45 minutes, add another cup of water to the pan and bring down the oven temperature to 350F.  Turn the pan around.  Roast for about another 45 minutes, basting frequently, until the internal temperature of the duck (taken at the thickest part of the thigh) reads 165F.

Take the duck out of the oven.  Transfer onto a platter and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Not the best photo as it was taken with my Blackberry… but you get the idea!

In the meantime, take out the plums, onions and garlic and set aside.

Discard the duck neck, and strain out the pan juice into a sauce pan to make gravy.  (In our instance, the pan juice was not too oily and did not have excess fat that we had to strain out.)

Bring to a boil, whisking frequently, and then simmer until the gravy reduces a little.

Carve the duck and plate the meat with some onions and plums.  Drizzle some gravy over the duck, and serve with a salad — or whatever you fancy!

The habañero in the marinade adds a nice, subtle heat to the dish, which works nicely with the spices and the orange juice also in the marinade.  Although I hope to improve on this recipe when I make it next — I want to make the duck skin crispier — we loved the result!  This new, slightly improvised recipe is David’s new favorite version of a whole roast duck!

We opened up a nice bottle of Californian muscat to go with dinner (on the sweet side but balanced — complements the habañero).

Not too shabby for a Friday night in — roasting challenge success!


One Response to “Whole Roasted Duck w/Black Plums+Spices”

  1. buttoni July 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I haven’t cooked a duck in over a year! Yours with the plums looks divine! Must go get me a duck soon and try this! My mother used to do a wonderful duck with dried prunes around it. The fresh plums intrigues me.

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