roasted chicken on brown wooden chopping board

Forget About Turkey for Thanksgiving and Cook a Duck!

roasted chicken on brown wooden chopping board

In our entire life, we have made endless turkeys that would grace Martha Stewart Living’s cover. We have brined, salted, smoked, fried, and basteted. In one instance, we decided to make a duck. Seriously, why not?

Duck is not difficult to master if you don’t make it so. If you have a 23-step turkey plan, you can find a way of complicating a duck. You don’t need to.

  • Step 1: Purchase a duck
  • Step 2: Season it.
  • Step 3: Roast it.

Ducks are smaller than turkey, so you don’t have to needle it a lot. The beauty of the bird is still there. These duck fat roasted potatoes will not make you miss your mashed potatoes.

This is the key to the recipe’s success: Instead of using elevated racks, we use the potatoes as the rack and let the duck fat drip down while cooking the potatoes.

Roasted duck with cherry glaze, duck fat roasted potatoes

  • 1 duck, 5-6 pounds
  • 6-8 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1 lb cherries
  • Five tablespoons Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tablespoons of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Molasses
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

You can get fresh duck at this time of year. However, if your duck is frozen, you should defrost it the same way as a turkey or chicken. It can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days or placed in the sink overnight.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pat the duck dry with paper towels, both inside and outside.
  3. Now, peel the potatoes. The potatoes should be washed and sliced into quarter-inch slices. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of pepper to the potatoes and mix them well. Layer them in the dish. You will need more potatoes if you are a potato-lover. More potatoes are  even better. Put the dish aside while making your duck cuts.
  4. The most difficult part of this gig requires a sharp knife. Make slits in the skin of the duck. Begin by gently going in and gradually increasing pressure until the skin is cut. These slits do not have to be beautiful. They are meant to allow fat to escape and not for aesthetics. However, you can see the pattern. These slits are primarily for coverage.
  5. It’s now time to season this magnificent specimen. In this instance, we like the combination Chinese Five Spice and cherries. We’ll add them later. Rub the Five Spice and salt all over the bird.
  6. Making it less floppy will make the meat cook more efficiently. This can be done in many ways, including using toothpicks or butcher’s twine to truss it. These doohickeys were used to secure the legs and lace up the cavity. You can also break the “shoulder”, which is the area between the bird’s wings and the cavity. (Don’t take it off. Just snap it out of its socket.)
  7. Place the bird breast-side up on the potatoes. You can tuck the wings under the bird since you have broken that joint.
  8. It’s time to put it the oven. It takes two hours to bake at 350.
  9. While the bird is cooking, let’s make a glaze. Place the cherries in a saucepan on the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium. Add the molasses and soy sauce and the vinegar. Let the mixture bubble. You want it to simmer, stirring frequently, and not boil. Let it simmer for 10 minutes while you stir it, then turn off the heat and let it cool.
  10. After the two hour mark has passed and the duck is about 170 inches in the thigh. Paint the glaze on the duck.
  11. Let the duck rest in the oven for 15 minutes. You can make the potatoes more crispy by carefully removing the duck from its pan. Then, transfer the potatoes to a cutting board and then place them back in the oven. These potatoes are delicious. The rest of the glaze can be used as a sauce or alone.

This combination can be adapted to your liking by adding other spices and fruit such as cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Smoked paprika with cumin, chili powder and dry mustard mixed with mango. Blackberry and hoisin with salt and pepper. To balance everything, you will need a fruit, sweetener, vinegar, and some salt. You can try different things. Find the one you like. You will love duck, no matter what fruit you choose or how many spices you use.

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