This year was our first Easter hosting Easter dinner at our new home. I was definitely excited and wanted to do something unique for dinner. We had just hosted a dinner party for friends where we served up some primo steak so I was shying away from beef and I wanted to do something out of the ham and lamb world. I’ve always been a huge duck fan so I decided to go with a bird, but I wanted to do a savory rendition on a duck recipe. I spent far too long looking through recipes online and in the myriad of cookbooks I own and when it came down to it, I winged it and went with simple. I prepared this duck pretty similarly to a roasted chicken but with a bit more attention to crispy skin and prepping with aromatics, and I have to say it was delicious. The meat was tender and juicy, the skin was crispy and the simple preparation made for a special dinner that I didn’t have to spend hours tending to. I served our duck with roasted vegetables and a fresh pea salad for a beautiful spring dinner. One note, you’ll want to prep the bird the day before you plan to cook it. I hope this meal becomes a special treat for you and yours!
- 5 pound duck
- Three carrots
- Heel of celery
- Handful each of sage, thyme and rosemary, tied together
- Half lemon
- Half onion
- 1 teaspoon sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
- Pinch of salt and pepper
THE DAY BEFORE COOKING
1. To prep the duck, first remove any organs from the inside of the bird and save for stock or other recipes. Wash and dry the inside and outside of the duck.
2. Remove wing tips from duck.
3. Fill cavity with carrots, celery, herbs, lemon and onion. Truss your duck to keep all that goodness inside. If you are very talented, go ahead and follow the best tutorial you can find (here’s a good one: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/how-to-truss-a-chicken-the-traditional-way) but I did mine simply. I folded the wings under the bird and secured them with a piece of butcher’s twine then used small skewers to secure the rest of the bird.
4. Prick skin all over duck with a sharp knife and sprinkle bird with sage, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper.
5. Allow duck to rest in the fridge, uncovered, for a day so that the skin can dry out.
DAY OF COOKING
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once oven is heated, bake duck on its roasting pan for 1 and a half to two hours or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees. Allow the duck to rest for at least 15 minutes once you remove it from the oven. Carve and enjoy!
A couple notes:
Duck can be expensive, so remember, you can always give the duck more time but once it’s overdone it’s ruined. Please baby your lovely bird. You can carve it and put it back in the oven if it needs a few more minutes, or finish it on the stove in a hot cast iron skillet for extra razzle dazzle!
I had planned on buying a fresh duck for dinner, unfortunately that was cost-prohibitive and would have needed to be special-ordered so I went with a frozen bird. It took several days to thaw in the fridge, so give yourself plenty of time before you plan to cook it.
Finally, in the spirit of sustainability, use the whole bird! Those bones are wonderful for stock and the liver etc. from the cavity can be re-purposed as well.