For Friendsgiving this weekend I roasted a duck. I’m all about turkey alternatives this time of year (turkey is not my jam), and duck is one of my favorites. Dark meat, crispy skin, melty fat…I love it all. I’ve been dying to roast one myself for years now, but for some reason it seemed more daunting than other recipes. Probably because fancy French restaurants always serve duck, and if it’s on a fancy French menu, it must be complicated.
As it turns out, roasting a duck is not all that different than roasting a chicken. The recipe I found was very similar to my go-to roast chicken recipe: (1) rub the bird all over with salt/pepper, (2) stick it in a baking pan with a pile of chopped onions/carrots, and (3) roast it for 2-3 hours depending on the size of the bird. Of course, oven temperatures varied, and my duck didn’t need any extra oil rubbed onto its skin to help with crispness, but overall the process was reassuringly familiar.
For a first attempt at roast duck, this wasn’t too bad. I think I may have miscalculated the necessary cooking time by weight, and should have left it in the oven a little longer to render off more fat – when we cut into it, I was surprised by how thick the layer of fat still was. I also wasn’t as vigilant in my basting as I should have been, so the skin didn’t get as dark/crispy as the original recipe. But, the meat was as tasty and tender and flavorful as I hoped. And, when eaten with roasted veggies, mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, and potatoes, it was a wonderfully satisfying turkey-free meal. I’m definitely going to have to give this recipe a few more tries!
PS – Sorry for the quantity/quality of pictures in this post and the next few posts…I didn’t want to annoy my Friendsgiving guests too much with all my picture staging and camera shenanigans!
- 1 duck, about 4-1/2 lbs
- 2 large carrots, chopped until chunks
- 2 onions, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp orange zest, grated
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 410 °F.
- Using a fork, pierce the skin of your duck all over (but don't break the skin). Set aside.
- Place the chopped onions, carrots, bay leaves, and garlic cloves in the baking dish. Set aside
- In a small bowl mix together your salt, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and your grated orange zest.
- Rub this seasoning mixture all over your duck.
- Place the seasoned duck on top of the vegetables in your baking dish.
- Roast at 410 °F for 25 minutes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 265 °F and continue roasting for an additional 55 minutes for every 2-1/4 lbs of meat (for a 4-1/2 duck, that would be 1 hour and 50 minutes). Baste your duck with the fat that collects at the bottom of your baking dish every 20 minutes.
- Increase the temperature back to 410 °F and cook for another 20 - 25 minutes, basting every five minutes, so that the skin becomes golden and crispy.
- Allow duck to rest for 20 minutes, then serve!
(Recipe slightly adapted from Jernej Kitchen)