Here’s a great recipe for the holidays. It’s a perfect dish to cook all afternoon with family or friends gathered at your house while the scent of rosemary slowly spreads from room to room.
The concept is simple and straightforward. We’re just stuffing a duck with orange pieces and rosemary and adding some root vegetables to the roasting pan. The flavors from the duck mix with the orange and rosemary to flavor the meat and the vegetables.
Normally you’ll end up buying the duck frozen. So if that’s the case, make sure it’s fully defrosted before you start cooking. Ideally you would transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and leave it there for about 24 hours.
Duck is quite fatty and during the cooking process, this fat slowly seeps out. Juices from the duck mix with juice from the oranges and with the duck fat; this entire mixture spreads around the roasting pan. To prevent the duck and vegetables from drying out, it’s critical that you use a baster to spread these juices around.
After about the first 45 minutes in the oven, you’ll want to remove the pan about once every 20 minutes. Tilt the pan to one side so all the juices gather there. Draw them into the baster and then baste the duck and the vegetables. Do this several times. If you don’t have a baster you can tilt the juices to one side and scoop them out with a large spoon.
The duck needs to cook a good 2.5 hours normally, depending on the size. When the meat is be very tender and the skin is dark brown and the legs pull easily away from the body, it should be done.
If you want some duck fat for future recipes, simply pour the remaining juices after cooking into a small mug or bowl. Put this in the refrigerator. The fat will separate and rise to the top.
Rosemary Orange Duck with Roasted Vegetables
- 1 duck
- 2-3 oranges (clementines also work nicely)
- 1 bunch of rosemary
- 5-6 carrots
- 5-6 parsnips
- 3 leeks
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Freshly milled black pepper
- Crush the garlic in a garlic press. Cut the carrots and parsnips into small-bite pieces. Cut the leeks into 1-inch rounds.
- Mix all the vegetables with the crushed garlic and spread this mixture on the bottom of a roasting pan.
- Cut the oranges into quarters. Stuff the orange pieces and the rosemary into the cavity of the duck.
- Sprinkle the duck with some crushed black pepper.
- Place the duck on top of the roasted vegetables.
- Place the pan into the oven at 375F. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and, using a baster, spread the juices over the duck and the vegetables. This helps keep them from drying out.
- Baste every 20 minutes or so until the duck is fully cooked. Total cooking time should be about 2.5 hours.