First of all, I must apologize to the friends I roasted a duck for in the past, and to the poor duck whose life was wasted because of my ignorance about how to properly cook it. Duck should be served medium-rare, not well done. I thought that since it is a bird I needed to cook it to well done, but duck is red meat and must not be overdone. Well done duck is tough and doesn’t taste very good, no matter how good your sauce is.
So recently I was fortunate enough to be given a beautiful duck to roast by Tony Funk. And a chance to redeem myself by cooking this duck properly. Thank you Tony!
After an aperitif of Lillet and sparkling water, I served slices of breast meat with roasted brussels sprouts and tomatoes, potatoes sarladaise, and a baguette and butter. Red wine accompanied.
The recipe for the roasted duck is from this site.
What you need:
- 1 duck – this one was a beautiful organic free-range Rouen, about 4 & 1/2 kg
- 1 lemon
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 celery stalks
- red wine (optional)
What you do:
- Bring the duck to room temperature before cooking. Preheat the oven to 450F.
- Use a needle or very sharp knife to pierce the fat all over the bird, without piercing the skin. This will allow the fat to be released, and leave a nice crispy skin.
- Cut the lemon into wedges and rub it all over the bird. Place the used wedges inside the cavity of the duck. Sprinkle salt all over the duck.
- Place the celery stalks in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the duck breast side up on top of them; this forms a raft for the duck so it does not sit in its own juices, and allows the skin to stay crisp.
- When the oven is completely heated, roast the duck for 25-45 minutes, until the breast meat reaches no more than 140-145F.
- Remove the duck from the oven and place on a cutting board. Tent it with foil and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving to keep the juices from running out when you cut it.
- If you want to make a sauce you can remove the celery and skim off most of the fat from the pan, then heat the pan drippings on the stove. Add about a tablespoon of flour and mix thoroughly, stirring on medium heat for a few minutes. You can add a little wine or stock if you wish. Season with salt and pepper.
Save the duck fat to fry or roast potatoes.