Happy New Year! I hope 2013 is off to a great start for everyone. David and I had a terrific holiday season, and I have quite a few recipes to catch up on!
First, dinner from last night: a very simple roasted duck.
We recently introduced whole roast duck into our dinner repertoire. Previously, roasting a whole duck somehow seemed more labor intensive than roasting a whole chicken, but it’s really not that different. If you get good, fresh duck — and we get lovely Long Island duck here in New York — then a simply roasted duck is delicious. I also love getting all the fabulous duck fat after roasting a whole duck, which I like to strain and keep so that I can use duck fat to roast vegetables (SO GOOD).
I like to roast the duck at a high temperature, bringing the temperature down later. This method helps make the skin nice and crispy. The simplest, no-frills way I have come to roast a duck, is as follows:
- Whole fresh duck (about 5 lbs.); take out the neck and set aside
- 1 orange, pierced all around with a fork (I used a juice orange)
- A small bunch of thyme
- Few garlic cloves
- 5 carrots, whole, skin on, ends trimmed (you can use more than 5 if you love carrots — they will be deliciously and decadently roasted in duck fat)
- Salt and pepper
- Kettle of water, boiled
Preheat the oven 450F.
Put the duck in a roasting pan. With a knife, poke holes all over the skin.
Set the pan in the sink. Bring a kettle of water to a boil, and pour the water all over the duck.
The hot water will shrink the skin. Turn over the duck, breast side down, and let it “bathe” in the hot water for about 5 minutes.
Take the duck out of the water, pat dry. In the cavity of the duck, place the garlic cloves, thyme, and juice orange. Truss the duck.
Salt and pepper the duck liberally, all over. In a dry roasting pan, place the carrots and then put the duck on top of the carrots (I don’t own a roasting rack, so I use carrots instead — you can also just use a roasting rack). Place the neck in the pan also.
At 450F, roast the duck, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, baste with its fat and turn down the oven temperature to 375F. Roast at this temperature, basting a couple of times, until the inside temperature taken at the thickest part of its thigh reaches 150F (about another 25 minutes).
Take the duck out of the oven, and transfer to a platter. Let the duck rest for at least 10 minutes. Throw away the neck and take out the carrots (use a fork to make sure they are cooked through — if some are still uncooked, you can continue roasting them until cooked, either in the pan or transferred into a smaller pan). Strain the fat into a glass container to keep.
After resting, carve the duck and enjoy! Whole roast duck is just perfect for winter. Last night, our dinner was quite “German” inspired, with some cabbage cooked down in white wine and vinegar, and cranberry sauce. Delish!