Like the last recipe, roasted duck is another very easy dish to make that looks like you slaved for hours over it. I made one for Thanksgiving and it was by far the easiest dish of them all — easier than the vegetables. Because duck is so fatty, and nearly all dark meat — which is infinitely tastier than white meat — you really don’t have to do anything to make it taste good. This recipe, for a basic roasted duck, may possibly be the easiest fancypants dinner recipe ever. It will also leave you with duck fat — liquid happiness — for future dishes.
– a duck (a 5-6 pound duck feeds about four people, with no leftovers)
* If you bought your duck frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight (and possibly in the sink for a couple hours the day of, just to make sure it’s fully thawed).
1.) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, with your oven rack in the middle
2.) Remove the giblets from inside the duck. Sometimes these will come in a neat little plastic package, sometimes they’ll be loose. Some people save these for soups and pates; I throw them away because they terrify me. Rinse the duck and pat dry with paper towels.
3.) Sprinkle salt, pepper and paprika evenly all over the entire duck
4.) Either score it (lightly cutting the skin in a diamond pattern) or poke it all over with a fork, but don’t go all the way through. You just need to pierce through the skin so the (sweeeeet, sweet) fat can escape.
5.) Put it into a roasting pan with a rack, so your duck’s not sitting directly in the pan. (If this happens, it will basically boil in its own fat. Might sound kind of tasty, but the bottom will be a soggy mess. If you don’t have a rack, you can place the duck on a bunch of carrots and nugget potatoes.)
6.) Roast it for about two hours, turning it and basting it with its own fat twice. (I did this once at the 45-minute mark and again at around 1:30.)
7.) Take the duck out and tent with foil for 10 minutes or so.
* SAVE THE FAT! This stuff is heavenly. Just strain it — a cheesecloth works well if you have one; a normal strainer if you don’t — and store it in a jar. It saves in the fridge for months. You can use it for mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, searing meats. It’s also not as bad for you as you might think, ranking somewhere between butter and olive oil.