Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins
I love this way of roasting duck! It removes a lot of the fat, plus makes some nice stock that you can then use to make a richer duck stock later on. From Barbara Kafka's "Roasting: A Simple Art" cookbook. I adore duck, but as it's more expensive and less versatile than chicken, I tend to save it for a treat. If you've never carved a duck before, be aware that waterfowl (ducks, geese) are not built quite the same as land fowl (i.e. chicken and turkey), so carving will be a little different. Mainly, the position of the hindquarters relative to the body is a little bit different for waterfowl. Times are estimated, and prep time allows for time to rest before roasting but not time to come to room temperature before simmering.
- 5 -5 1⁄2 lbs ducklings
- 4 1⁄2 quarts duck stock or 4 1⁄2 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Remove giblets and wing tips from duck, trim neck, and remove excess fat, reserving all but fat (note--you can render the fat into duck schmaltz, if desired). Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes (or until next step is done).
- Pour stock or water into a tall, narrow stockpot (deep enough to hold duck with plenty of room leftover). Note: if using a wider pot, more water or stock may be needed. Add wing tips, giblets, and neck. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.
- While stock is coming to a boil, prick duck skin all over with tines of fork, especially in fatty areas. Prick at an angle to avoid stabbing the meat. Carefully lower into boiling stock, breast end first, allowing cavity to fill as you lower it. Place a heat-proof plate or lid of smaller diameter than pot over duck to keep it submerged.
- Once the stock has returned to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Check every 10-15 minutes to ensure duck is still submerged (will tend to float even though weighted); keep stock at a gentle simmer to reduce likelihood of it rising above liquid.
- After duck has simmered for 45 minutes, spoon off about 1 tablespoon of fat from surface of liquid and spread around bottom of 12x18x1 1/2-inch roasting pan. Remove plate or lid and carefully remove duck from stock and allow to drain any liquid back into pan (reserve cooking liquid if planning to make broth later; cool and chill so you can scrape off the fat before making stock). Place duck in roasting pan. Spread neck flap out in pan.
- Pat duck dry with paper towelling and gently pat salt and pepper into skin (be careful, as it will be somewhat fragile at this point). Note: you can prepare duck up to this point in advance; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day and bring back to room temperature before proceeding.
- Allow duck to cool for 30 minutes (if not made in advance) to allow skin to dry.
- Place oven rack on the second-lowest position. Preheat oven to 500* F.
- Place duck in oven feet first. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove duck from oven (keep door closed to keep it hot). Spoon off fat accumulated in bottom of pan. Wiggle duck around to loosen and return to oven for another 20 minutes. Be aware that any splatters or spills of fat will cause some smoke!
- Remove duck from oven and from pan; cover to keep warm while setting for 10-15 minutes. Again remove fat with a spoon. Deglaze pan with some stock or water, if desired for a sauce. Carve and serve immediately.
- If desired, reserve skin and bones for making duck stock.