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Friday Feast: Slow-Roasted Duck

Friday Feast: Slow-Roasted Duck

You’re feeling like something savory, delicious, maybe even decadent. Common table fowl staples like chicken or turkey are great, but you want something with a deeper flavor.

How about duck?

If you wind up with a fat duck, typically the way most domesticated ducks you can purchase will be, considering slow-roasting it over extremely high heat. This age-old practice crisps the skin of the duck while leaving rare-to-medium meat within.

Per Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the slow roasting method of preparing ducks and geese is more than a millennium old, and its staying power lies in its reliability in delivering a perfectly cooked, juicy bird.

1 domesticated duck or 2 very fat wild ducks
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 lemon, halved
4 sprigs sage, rosemary, parsley or thyme
Root vegetables

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take the ducks out of the fridge. Using a needle or the point of a very sharp knife, prick the skin of the duck all over, but be sure to not pierce the meat itself, only the skin, as this helps the fat render out and will crisp the skin. Pay special attention to the back, the flanks, and the very front of the breast.

Rub the lemon all over the duck and stick it inside the cavity, then liberally salt the bird. Stuff the cavity with the herbs, then let the duck sit out for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. 

When you are ready to roast, place the duck on an iron frying pan or other ovenproof pan and surround it with root vegetables, then place in the oven. Cook domesticated ducks for one hour like this. You should cook wild ducks like mallards and pintails for 45 minutes, while small ducks, like wood ducks, wigeon, teal, ruddies, etc., only require 40 minutes. If you are roasting a goose, increase the roasting time to 80 minutes.

After the prescribed cooking time has elapsed, remove the pan from the oven and place the ducks on a cutting board to rest. Spoon any fat that has accumulated over the vegetables and salt them well. If the vegetables are ready to eat, remove them, and spoon away any excess fat. 

Turn the oven up to 450°F, then roast the birds for 15 to 20 more minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Removing the bird from the oven helps redistribute the juices in the bird midstream and crisping the skin without overcooking the duck. 

Remove your bird from the oven and allow to cool; only five minutes resting time for small birds, 10 minutes for large ducks, and 15 for geese. Cut and serve!

Recipe courtesy of Hank Shaw of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.

Friday Feast recipe recipes duck fowl

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