I’m a sucker for a deal, what can I say?
So I’m grocery shopping in my friendly local co-op, minding my own business while browsing the meat section, when that bright orange discount sticker caught my eye. This is how I buy a lot of my meat and if I can’t use it in the next few days, I freeze it. It’s a great strategy for larger cuts like pork shoulder and for expensive cuts like ribeyes (2 for $20, don’t mind if I do!). But this time, the discount was for a half duck.
I’ve cooked with duck breast (here), but never roasted a whole thing. I figured, “It’ll be just like roasting a chicken, right?” Wrong-o-roonie.
You’re gonna need some time. Like, a lazy Sunday kind of time (3-4 hours!). But the results are so worth it—succulently fatty, rich, and the skin is perfectly crisped. I’m pinching the technique from here, thanks to The Hungry Mouse. I’ll condense the instructions below, but if you follow the link, there are great step-by-step pictures. Because I was roasting a half duck, I didn’t flip it around and I roasted for only 3 of the 4 hours. Major bonus: about 2 cups of gorgeous yellow duck fat to cook with.
(Psst! If you don’t have any duck handy, this recipe would be good with chicken or pork.)
The confetti part of the recipe refers to the veggies that get sprinkled on top of the duck. I used snap peas, carrots, and green onion, but please feel free to sub whatever you have around or are comfortable using. Just make sure it’s crunchy and colorful.
salt and fresh ground pepper
8 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 cup wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos
1 Tbsp. grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbsp. rice or sherry vinegar (or other mild vinegar, like apple cider)
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. red chili flakes
2 cups finely chopped/diced veggies (like snap peas, carrot, green onion, bell pepper, red cabbage, jicama, radish, etc.)
leaf or butter lettuce leaves
1) Roast duck: Preheat oven to 300°F. With a sharp knife, score a crosshatch design into the duck’s fat, being careful not to pierce the meat. Then prick the skin in several places, also taking care not to pierce the meat beneath. Sprinkle with S&P then place duck on a rack in a roasting pan breast-side up. Roast for one hour, then remove and prick the fat in several places to allow fat to escape from under the skin. Put back in rack breast-side down, then into oven for an hour. Remove and prick again. Flip and put back for an hour, then remove and prick again. At this point, my half a duck was done, but the instructions say to do another hour, so use your judgment. My sense is that if after three hours, your duck’s skin is crisp and most of the fat has rendered, it’s done. Allow the duck to cool enough to handle. Take the skin and slice it into thin ribbons, and shred the meat. Be sure to strain and reserve that duck fat! People pay good money for that.
2) Meanwhile, make sauce. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Whirl it up.
3) Spoon a few tablespoons of the duck fat from the roasting pan into a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft, 4-5 minutes. Place shredded duck in skillet. Add sauce and cook until mostly absorbed and duck is warmed through.
4) Take a handful of duck and place it in a lettuce leaf. Top with veggie confetti and a few strips of crispy duck skin. Eat it up, yum.