This recipe comes from Chef Cody Hogan at Lidia's Kansas City. Duck is one of my favorite foods. If I could have it only one way, it would be roasted on a spit in my fireplace. A close second is in the oven, but it’s nowhere near as romantic and entertaining for your guests. The seasonings may vary greatly. I am giving you suggestions for a basic roast duck with simple seasonings. Sage or rosemary, garlic and lemon are wonderful, but the French quatre epice blend, Chinese five spice, or your own favorite blend of seasonings are but a few of the variations that you will want to try. I think the skin is most crisp if the duck is allowed to stand uncovered in the refrigerator overnight to dry out a little. Serve this duck with potatoes cooked in the drippings, or with asparagus marinated briefly in the drippings with herbs, grilled while the duck rests, or with any good seasonal vegetables. One duck will serve 2 extremely hungry people, or four with more moderate appetites.
1 whole domestic/farm-raised duck
Freshly ground black pepper or crushed red pepper
1 head garlic
Several bunches of sage, or rosemary, or thyme
1 tablespoon of olive oil
One lemon (or orange) for the cavity of the bird
For the roasting pan
1 onion cut in wedges
1 carrot, cut in 1-inch chunks
1 rib of celery, cut in 1-inch chuncks
Few sprigs of the herbs you used w/the duck
Few pieces of dried porcini mushroom
For the paste
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
9 or so sage leaves (or other herb)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Rinse and pat dry the duck. Remove any excess fat and (and perhaps a packet containing the liver and neck) from the cavity. Remove any excess skin from the neck, leaving enough skin to fold over and close the neck opening. Secure this flap with toothpicks. With a skewer or paring knife, pierce the thick fatty areas under the wings to help excess fat drain as the duck cooks. Salt and pepper the cavity of the duck. Quarter the lemon and insert into the cavity. Peel and crush four or five cloves of garlic and insert those. Place a handful of your herb of choice inside the duck. With toothpicks or a kitchen needle and twine, seal up the cavity of the duck. Fold under the wings so they are close to the body. With kitchen twine, tie the legs together at the last joint. Set the duck aside. In a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor, make the paste.
Rub the duck with the paste. Place the chunks of vegetables, herbs, the neck and any gizzard or liver that came inside the duck, and the porcini mushroom pieces in a roasting pan. Place the duck on top and then put the entire pan uncovered into the fridge and leave it overnight.
Remove the duck from the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 400F. Pour a cup or two of water, stock or wine into the roasting pan. When ready, place the duck in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes, breast side up. Then turn the duck breast side down and roast 30 minutes more. Check at each tuning to see that there is still liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan. Finally, turn the duck breast side up again and roast about 30 minutes more. When the duck is a beautiful dark golden brown, check for doneness. The juices should run relatively clear. Place the duck on a platter, and loosely cover it with foil while finishing the sauce. A simple sauce can be made by pouring the liquid from the roasting pan through a sieve, mashing the vegetables to get as much liquid as possible. Skim the generous amount of fat from the liquid (don’t throw it away! --it’s delicious and can be used for all kinds of things). If the remaining liquid is too watery, reduce it a little by boiling. When ready to serve, carve the duck as you would a chicken (a very skinny, long chicken) and serve immediately.