How do you like your duck? I’ll take mine a number of ways. On the bone. Off the bone. Just the breast with a simple honey sauce. But if we’re talking about the whole duck, then I have to have it slow roasted until the skin is so crispy, sweet and glossy that it dissolves on your tongue with the first bite.
Who would have thought that such delicious duck was possible, and easy to make at home?
The first time I had duck served this way was at the Four Seasons in New York City. Seated in the pool room, I felt like such a fake, self-conscious of being completely out of place at this chic magazine tycoon hangout dressed up to the nines in my suburban mom best. I could have been sitting at the very table where the fate of Gourmet was decided! But once the duck arrived, I forgot about where I was and what I was wearing, completely overcome by how good it was. I was hooked from the beginning of the duck ceremony: the maitre d’ came over to carve, removed the silver cover and revealed the bird, in all its glory.
I didn’t think this type of beautiful whole duck was possible or attainable at home, but then I discovered The Hungry Mouse and her easy How to Roast a Duck recipe. Perfect duck no longer requires a trip to New York City and a reservation at the Four Seasons. If you have an afternoon at home, a roasting pan with rack, and a duck, then you’re just a few hours away from duck perfection.
And that roasted duck perfection is a pretty amazing dinner to serve. You’ll get compliments galore, and no one needs to know that the duck basically cooked itself. All you did was place it on the rack, flip it four times, and brushed it once with a sweet glaze. But who needs to know you only flipped the bird? A little extra praise never hurt anyone.
Save any leftover pan drippings to make duck fat potatoes. Or you can render any extra skin to get pure white duck fat. Just a word of warning: you’ll need a fair amount of skin to yield enough fat for a batch of potatoes.
I’m adding the recipe here, in my own words, but do go check out The Hungry Mouse write up. She has gobs of great pictures and you’ll see the process step by step in great detail. Her glaze is also different than mine. I wanted nothing spicy in our duck to keep it a crowd pleaser for all the kids.
- 1 Whole Duck, Giblets and innards removed
- ¼ Cups of Honey
- ¼ Cups of Soy Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons of Sweet, Chili Sauce
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the duck, remove any giblets, neck or innards that may have been tucked inside by a kindly butcher. Save these. They might be delicious tossed with some potatoes that have been pan fried with a little duck fat.
- With a sharp pairing knife, score the skin of the duck in a cross hatch pattern. This keeps it from bursting open and achieves maximum crispness. (Picture on the blog)
- Place the duck breast side up on the baking rack. Cook for one hour.
- Flip the bird (sorry, couldn't resist) onto its breast. Cook for another hour.
- Flip the bird back onto its back. Cook for another hour.
- Flip the bird back onto its breast. Cook for one last hour.
- Turn the heat up to 400 degrees. Flip the duck back onto its back. Cook the duck for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the honey, soy sauce, and sweet chili sauce in a small saucepan with ¼ cups of water. Heat, stirring frequently.
- Remove the duck from the oven and brush thoroughly with the glaze. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, until gorgeous and caramelized all over.
- Remove the duck from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes. Put the remaining glaze in a sauce bowl to serve with rice and veggies with the duck.