Yesterday, December 12, was our 22nd wedding anniversary. The plan was to spend the day in Chinatown just eating, walking, eating, food shopping… Visiting those quaint stores that sell ingredients that make Chinese food smell and taste really Chinese. Unfortunately, we overslept. So, I suggested buying a duck, roasting it and have a roast duck dinner at home. Just the two of us. And that was exactly what we did.
Speedy went to the grocery and I was expecting that he’d come home with the U.S. duckling that we had been buying for years. But there was none, he said, and the only available duck was imported from New Zealand. This New Zealand duck came with its head and feet intact but no liver and gizzard. Even before cooking, I already knew that it would be less fatty than the U.S. duckling that we were more familiar with. It was more gamey, and it reminded me of free range chicken. It had a different mouth feel from its American sibling but it is just as succulent and just as delicious.
Instead of traditional Chinese pancakes, we wrapped the sliced duck and slivers of cucumber and whole lettuce leaves in tortilla halves smeared with a mixture of hoisin sauce and sesame seed oil. With a bottle of cabernet sauvignon, dinner was just perfect.
This roast duck goes well with rice if that’s what you prefer. Anything that usually accompanies roast chicken would be perfect accompaniments for roast duck too. Such as? Mashed potato, macaroni salad, grilled corn, corn bread… whatever you fancy.
Recipe: Roast duck with orange-lime-honey glaze
- 1 whole duck (ours was 2.1 kg.)
- 1 tbsp. of salt
- 1/2 tsp. of pepper
- juice of one orange
- juice of one lime
- 3 to 4 tbsps. of honey
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Cut off the extreme appendages of the duck. This usually refers to the feet, wing tips and head, but I prefer to keep the wing tips on.
- Rub the duck inside and out with salt and pepper.
- If you have a roasting pan which comes with a rack, use it. If not, just position a rack inside a baking pan (see the porchetta photos to see how I do it). The important thing is that you can something to catch the drippings.
- Roast the duck at 400F for 10 minutes then lower the temperature to 375F.
- Make a basting sauce by mixing together the orange juice, lime juice and honey. After the duck has been in the oven for an hour, baste it with the sauce every 10 to 15 minutes. I use a silicone basting brush for this job.
- As a general rule, the cooking time is 20 to 30 minutes per pound. Ovens vary, those with fans shorten the cooking time, so check the duck after the minimum cooking time. Poke a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh (or the center of the breast) and, if the the juices run clear, the duck is done.
- Allow the duck to rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 40 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6