This festive whole foods recipe for crisp roasted duck with ginger, orange and pomegranate glaze is a wonderful holiday or special occasion entrée. Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes or root vegetables. A nice green vegetable like steamed green beans with a bit of lemon or this recipe for spicy green beans with chili and mint is perfect for balancing the earthy flavors.
Air-drying the duck overnight is not mandatory but helps ensure that your roast will have a crisp skin. Ducks are very fatty birds, and scoring the skin ensures that the fat will render in the bottom of the pan instead of inside the bird. This is a crucial step in prepping duck: there are few things worse than a greasy roast. If you are having a dinner party, simply double this recipe as needed.
- 1 5-pound duck*
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 juice oranges
- 1 small shallot, peeled and cut in half
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup honey
Prepare the Duck:
- Rinse the duck thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Remove the giblets and neck and reserve for another use. Trim excess fat from the bird.
- Using a small sharp knife at an angle; score a crosshatch pattern on the fatty skin of the duck, taking care not to cut into the meat. This will allow the fat to render into the bottom of the roasting pan. Use the very tip of the knife to poke any hard-to-reach areas.
- Season the duck all over with salt and pepper. Truss (tie) the legs together. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan breast side up, and either place it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight or preheat the oven to 350 F.
- When you are ready to roast the duck, bring the duck to room temperature (30 minutes or so).
- Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Roast the duck for 45 minutes.
- Carefully pour off any fat into a bowl** and prick the skin of the duck several times all over with a fork so fat can continue to drain off. Turn the duck breast side down and cook another 45 minutes.
- Once again, pour off the fat and prick the skin several times with a fork. Turn the duck breast side up and return to the oven for 60 minutes.
Prepare the Glaze:
- Squeeze the juice from the oranges. Place the orange juice, shallot, ginger, pomegranate and honey in a small saucepan.
- Place the pan over medium heat and reduce the glaze by half, until it is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. Discard the shallot.
- Remove the duck from the oven.
- Increase the oven temperature to 400 F.
- Pour off any fat. Prick the skin once again, and baste the bird thoroughly with the glaze. Return the duck to the oven, and roast an additional 10 minutes, until the bird is deep amber and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 F.
- Let the duck sit for 15 minutes before carving. Slice into serving pieces and serve with additional glaze on the side.
*Always use fresh duck. There are several types of duck available, and each has a slightly different flavor and fat-to-meat ratio.
Pekin duck is quite fatty with a mild flavor; it is what most Chinese chefs use. Muscovy ducks are on the smaller side, with less fat and gamier flavor. The Moulard is a cross between the two.
**Pouring off the fat is a crucial step in roasting the duck and is both a safety and culinary issue. Many chefs swear by duck fat, which has a rich and delicious flavor. The fat will keep for several months if refrigerated and can be used for hash browns, roasted veggies, cabbage and other greens.