Recipe Box: Crispy Roast Duck

Christmas Goose
"It's a beautiful duck. It really is. But you see, it's smiling at me."

After a craaaazy whirlwind of a week, I was pretty stoked to enjoy a quiet Christmas dinner at home with Kurt and the beebs. While Julia Child's Canard a l'Orange was just swell and all, we opted for a simpler duck recipe with less words to read, less stirring, less hovering. And you know what? I'll be darned if that bird didn't come out of the oven absolutely perfect. For once in my life, something remarkable was born from total laziness.

Crisp Roast Duck
Adapted from Gourmet - September 2006

1 5-6 lb. duck
2 cups boiling hot water
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
2 small lemons, halved
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 or 5 large carrots, halved length-wise

  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 425°F.
  2. Remove and discard excess fat from around your duck's tail and neck, then rinse duck inside and out. Prick duck's skin all over with a sharp fork. Fold neck skin under body, then put duck, breast side up, inside a 13-by-9-by-3-inch roasting pan.
  3. Pour boiling-hot water over duck. (Watch as it's skin instantly tightens up like it's being sucked by a tiny invisible vacuum!) Cool duck, then pour out any water from cavity.
  4. In the roasting pan, arrange a bed of carrots in a criss-crossed pattern. You want a platform tall enough to elevate the bird about an 1 1/2" off the pan. (I guess you could use a rack instead, but that means you wouldn't have all those delicious carrots caramelized in duck fat. Kurt's favorite thing, apparently, seeing how he devoured all of them.)
  5. Pat duck dry inside and out, then rub duck inside and out with Herbs de Provence, kosher salt and pepper. Stuff the halved lemons and garlic cloves inside the duck's cavity.
  6. Roast duck, breast side up, 45 minutes, then remove from oven. Carefully turn duck over using 2 wooden spoons, and roast 45 minutes more. Turn duck over again (breast side up). Continue to roast duck until skin is brown and crisp, about 45 minutes more (total roasting time: about 2 1/4 hours).
  7. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes before carving.

*If you'd like, strain the solids from the fat in the bottom of the pan to use for later cooking adventures. (It's basically liquid gold - the perfect fat for frying potatoes or latkes, or in our case, brussels sprouts.) I'll also be using the scraps to make a pot of duck broth for our New Year's Day Hoppin' John. Waste not, want not!


  1. This sounds awesome Johanna! I have a duck in the freezer and this recipe will be perfect for the first weekend of the new year. Question: Do you leave the boiling water poured over the duck (and the water titled out of the cavity) in the roasting pan for the rack-o-carrots to be in?

  2. Kathy! I'm sorry, your comment got lost somewhere in my inbox and I didn't see it until now. Although this is probably too late, I drained the water first. Did you make the duck? If so, how'd it go?

  3. I figured I should discard the water. The duck was great. We devoured it in one sitting. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  4. Yay! I'm glad. I actually made it again last night (extra carrots) and I'm using the leftovers on a pizza tomorrow!


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