A duck roast is surprisingly easy to make, and can be a real showstopper at the table. We have a few beautiful fresh ducks left from our friends at Road Trip Farms in Niagara. These are Muscovy ducks, with a decent amount of fat and a rich ruby-coloured meat.
Here is an abridged recipe from my book Cooking Meat that walks you through the duck roasting process. It is similar to the process to make a roast goose as well – another game bird that we’ll be bringing in fresh this holiday season. Either way you slice it, a carved duck or goose is a great holiday meal!
1 (about 4 pounds) Muscovy duck hen
2 clementine or mandarin oranges
2 whole rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper
Orange and Ginger Sauce
2 shallots, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped ginger
5 strips orange peel (use a vegetable peeler)
1 star anise
½ cup mirin (or dry white wine)
Juice of 1 orange
2 cups Beef Stock
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp cold water
- Two hours before serving, remove the duck from the fridge. Place the duck, breast side up, on your cutting board and remove the wishbone to making carving easier. Save the wishbone for the pan sauce. Use a sharp paring knife to score the duck breast in a crosshatch pattern at ¼-inch intervals, making sure that you’re only cutting through the skin and not into the meat of the breast.
- Roll the clementines (or mandarins) on your work surface to break up the cells of the fruit inside. Using the tip of the paring knife, poke 8 to 10 holes all around the fruit. Place the clementines and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity of the bird, then truss the duck and season it liberally with salt and pepper. Place the duck on the roasting rack and set the roasting pan on the center rack of a cold oven.
- Turn on the oven to 450˚F. Roast the duck until the skin is a deep golden, about 15 minutes from when you turn the heat on. Turn down the oven to 300˚F and roast until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165˚F, about 1 hour. Remove the duck from the oven and allow it to rest, covered, for 20 minutes before carving.
- While the duck is resting, make the sauce. Drain the fat and roasting juices from the pan into a bowl and reserve. Set the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and add the wishbone, shallots, and ginger, stirring well until the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the orange peel and star anise and sweat for another minute, scraping up any bits of roast that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the mirin, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the orange juice and reduce by half again, about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Using a tablespoon, skim the fat from the top of the reserved roasting juices and reserve it for another use. Add the roasting juices and beef stock to the saucepan, bring to a simmer, and reduce by one-quarter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make a slurry by whisking the cornstarch with the cold water in a small bowl. Slowly whisk the slurry into the sauce, bring the sauce to a simmer, and allow it to thicken—that should take a few minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
- To serve, carve the duck into slices and arrange them on a platter. Serve with the gravy alongside.