Gatherings may be smaller for the holidays this year. If the idea of an enormous roast turkey seems too much, consider celebrating with roast duck. Depending on the size, duck will feed 2 – 4 people and is a real treat with its crispy skin and succulent meat. The French often serve it with a sweet and sour orange sauce for a traditional Duck A l’Orange. I have given this delicious sauce a north American spin with Ginger Infused Maple used as the sweetener along with shallots and vinegar.
One thing to consider when roasting duck is the generous amount of fat that will render from the skin. While it can get a little messy, there are many uses for it. To start, trim any excess pieces of fat along the neck while still uncooked and roast them alongside. These will crisp up to cracklings which are delicious. You should also score the skin, making cuts diagonally across the breast, through the fat but stopping just before cutting the meat. Every half hour, take the pan out of the oven and spoon off the excess liquid fat into a heat-proof bowl. Reserve this lard for the next time you saute potatoes and you will have some very flavorful spuds.
Duck with Maple Ginger Orange sauce
1 5-6lb Long Island duckling
Salt and pepper
1 Tb butter
1 shallot, diced
¼ cup Runamok ginger Infused Maple Syrup
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup orange juice
4 strips orange zest
1 tsp chopped rosemary
Preheat oven to 475. Check the duck for any innards or neck bones in the cavity and remove. Trim excess fat from any area that is not covering meat such as the neck or back opening. Put the fat trimmings alongside the duck. Run a sharp knife through the layer of fat across the breast in several places but do not cut deep enough to pierce the meat below. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Place the bird in a roasting pan with the fat trimmings and put in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350. Continue to cook, occasionally taking the duck out to remove excess fat accumulating in the pan. Roast for another 60 – 75 minutes or until a thermometer put in the thigh reads 170F. Remove from the oven and let rest.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the diced shallots. Cook until the shallots are soft and just beginning to brown and then add the maple syrup, vinegar, chicken broth, orange juice and zest. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. When the sauce has thickened (about 8 – 10 minutes), remove the zest and add the rosemary. You can add an extra pat of butter to further smooth it out.
Carve the duck and serve the sauce on the side.