Just Ducky

Roasted Duck, Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips with Orange Marmalade Pan Sauce and Amalie Robert Oregon Viognier
Having convinced myself that I'm not good with meats, I've avoided cooking a lot of wonderful foodstuff over the years, including duck. Martha Stewart Living's Duck 101 article (March 2010) provided enough confidence to give it another go. And surprise! It was simple. Like water off a duck's back as a matter of fact.

I'd roasted a duck precisely one time before, with great results. How is it that old "I'm not good at that" voices live on, well after they've been proved otherwise?

Guess what? I can roast one heck of a good duck.

Amalie Robert Estate 2008 Oregon Viognier has an aromatic gingery spiciness that is terrific with the citrusy notes and spices in this dish, and its acidity works really well with the richness of the duck. I've written about Amalie Robert before, and conclude that Ernie Pink and Dena Drews apply equal parts poetry and science to their craft. My Baby and I continue to find reasons to elevate the status of Amalie Robert Estate wines with each bottle we enjoy. Which by now, has been quite several.

Here is the recipe just as it appears in the magazine with a few learned tips and tricks of my own thrown in, but be warned: It took 4o minutes less time to reach its 165 degree internal temperature than the recipe states. Be armed with a good meat or insta-read thermometer to guarantee not overdoing it. Duck breast is best served medium-rare. This is one thing I've found over the years with Martha's recipes... They are terrific in regards to creativity and flavors, etc, but the technical bits occasionally are askew. No big deal when you know what you're doing, but a problem if it's something new, like roasting duck was for me. Next time I'll know better and plan accordingly.

Don't be put off with the length of the duck directions. This comes together with ease, and your active time is actually very short. Here's where you'll be happy that your knives have recently been sharpened, as the crosshatch scoring you do to the skin is a snap with a sharp blade. (See top photo.)
Roast Duck
Serves 4
1 whole duck (5 to 6 pounds)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Line bottom of oven with foil to catch any spatters. Preheat over to 425 degrees with rack in second-lowest position. Rinse duck with cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Trim excess fat and skin from neck and body cavity. Clip wing tips. Place wing tips and neck in a large roasting pan fitted with roasting rack.

Prick surface of skin all over with a paring knife. Score skin of breast in a crosshatch pattern. (This is so important with the fatty duck, and ensures that delicious crispy skin.) Season inside and outside of duck with pepper and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt.

Place duck, breast side up, on rack in pan. Roast for 50 minutes.

Remove pan from oven. Set duck on rack in sink or over a towel to catch drips. Spoon off excess fat from pan; strain, and reserve 1/4 for roasted vegetables. Tilt duck to drain, pouring juices from cavity into roasting pan. Return duck, breast side down, on rack in pan. Roast for 50 minutes.

Flip duck, breast side up, and roast until duck registers 165 degrees on an insta-read thermometer, about 50 minutes more. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Spoon fat from roasting pan. Reserve fat.** Carefully tilt duck and pour accumulated juices from cavity into pan. Reserve neck and wing tips in pan with pan juices for sauce.

** Reserved duck fat is like gold. Use it to roast potatoes and other vegetables, etc., but DO NOT throw it away. This would be kitchen sacrilege.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips with Chili Powder
After the duck has cooked for about an hour, you'll have enough fat to prepare these vegetables.
1 pound sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
1 pound parsnips, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/4 cup strained duck fat, from roast duck
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 navel orange, cut into 1/2 inch wedges (do not peel)
3 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes and parsnips with reserved duck fat. Mix together salt, chili powder and cinnamon. Sprinkle vegetables with seasoning mixture, tossing to coat well. Spread in single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. (I do all of this on a foil-lined baking sheet, avoiding having to wash another bowl and making quick clean-up of the roasting pan.)

Roast vegetables for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and toss in orange wedges and thyme. Roast, stirring halfway through, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes. Drizzle with molasses.

Orange Marmalade Pan Sauce
1 1/2 cups water
Reserved neck and wing tips form roast duck
1 cup orange marmalade (not dark variety)
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

Once excess fat has been spooned off from pan and accumulated juices from duck have been poured in, add water to pan. Set on 2 burners over medium-high heat, and cook, scraping brown bits with a wooden spoon until all bits are scraped up.

Pour liquid through a fine sieve into a 1-quart pat, and discard remaining solids. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 13 cup. Discard neck and wing tips. Whisk in marmalade and chili powder. Serve over carved duck and roasted vegetables.


  1. yumm!! Your recipe looks delicious and rustic and homey! I envy you for having been able to get the freshest ingredients in your place. I love that kind of life. Thanks for greeting me for being top 9. I wasnt really aware till u congratulated me. I havent been active in Foodbuzz in a while.

  2. Thanks, Mhel for your nice comments. You are welcome o visit any time and see for yourself the joys of living in Oregon wine country!

  3. I am attempting my first roast duck ever in 2 weeks for a dinner party. This sounds perfect for my guests. Thanks so much. I will let you know how it turns out!

  4. Good luck, Lindsey. Don't be intimidated at all... it's easy! Good luck, and have fun at your party.

  5. Oh my, this looks amazing! It must be so delicious! I love duck! Great recipe, beautiful pics!

  6. I absolutely adore eating duck..And while I've only made duck breasts at home I will most definitely try this recipe. And, of course, anything cooked in duck fat (i.e. root veggies) tastes amazing. Also, I made your Yumm sauce yesterday and it turned out great!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts