I feel like roast birds really intimidate people. My mother, who is an incredibly accomplished home cook, dreads Thanksgiving every year because it means she has to make a turkey. She won’t even take a bite once we’ve all sat down to eat – just hovers and nervously asked if it turned out ok. It’s always delicious but it’s the intimidation of a whole bird that she just can’t shake.
I get it, roast it too little and you risk giving yourself salmonella, roast it too long and you’re eating dry meat – neither is desirable. Luckily, roast duck defies all normal bird roasting expectations for two reasons.
- The thick layer of fat keeps the bird moist throughout roasting
- The meat on a duck doesn’t really differ from breast to leg – it’s all pretty dark and holds moisture very well.
The downside to duck is that it’s VERY rich and, therefore, high in calories. So I don’t recommend this as a weekly dinner, but for a treat or special occasion, a roast duck is super impressive and 100% worth it. I use a blood orange glaze here because I find the citrus helps cut the richness – plus the color the glaze adds to the duck is stunning.
Blood Orange Glazed Roast Duck
- 4 lb whole duck
For Marinade / Sauce
- 3 large blood oranges juice of all three and zest of one – keep the juiced oranges for stuffing the duck
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 cup chicken stock
For Stuffing the Bird
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large shallot
- Pat duck dry with paper towels and pull the bag out of the inner cavity. This will contain the neck and typically the heart and liver. I roast the heart with the duck and eat it (honestly it is delicious) but you can also discard
- Combine all ingredients listed under marinade in a large mixing cup. Whisk to combine and remember to reserve the juiced oranges for later
- Place duck in a large bowl and pour marinade all over. Make sure to get the duck as fully immersed as you can – you can always add more chicken stock as needed. Also be sure that the duck breasts are place down in the bowl so they soak up the marinade
- Let duck sit in marinade for at least an hour but can also be overnight or all day if you prepare this in the morning for an evening meal
- Once ready, place duck in a roasting pan, poke skin all over with the tip of a sharp knife, stuff with the juiced orange remains, shallot, thyme, and garlic
- Preheat the oven to 300
- While you wait for the oven, pour the marinade in a sauce pot and bring to a boil – this will make it safe to use as a sauce! The goal is to reduce this by about half
- Once the oven is ready, place roasting pan with duck inside and cook for about 1-1.5 hours. Use the reduced sauce as a glaze and brush over duck 2-3 times while cooking
- Note: if your duck skin is not browning – you can turn up the heat to 450 for the last 30 minutes. But be sure to baste more frequently if you do this
- The duck is done when the legs move easily and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 160°F
- Let duck rest on your cutting board for about 30 minutes – I like to tent mine with foil so it doesn't get cold when I make this in the winter