Baked or roast duck is a fine and time honored dish. Appreciated worldwide, duck is found in many international cuisines including French, American, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Chinese, and Chinese American. This bird can be a slightly more difficult bird to cook successfully than chicken, turkey, and some other fowl. However with the right know how and attention it will come out perfectly and make for a delicious dinner suitable for many occasions. This article will give you the steps necessary to prepare an excellent baked duck dish.
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Take the duck out of its packaging. Remove the giblet bag or anything else in the interior. If there appears to be excess fat (for instance in the neck area), cut it away. Rinse the duck in water and allow it to dry. You can also pat it down lightly with a clean dish towel.
3. The duck may have come with plastic ties for the legs and wings. If not, tie the legs and wings with oven safe string or rubber bands to hold the appendages against the bird.
4. Now you can season the bird with salt, pepper, all purpose seasoning, basil, dill, or anything else you like. You should score and/or poke holes in the skin of the bird with a knife or fork. You can tuck herbs and spices in these areas as well.
5. Next tuck a covering or tent of aluminum foil over and around the duck.
6. Put the duck on a roasting rack and put it in at the top of the oven. Place a large roasting pan ½ full of water on the rack directly below the duck. Make sure it aligns with the positioning of the duck as it sits on the rack, and is as large as or larger than the rack.
7. Bake the duck for 10 minutes per pound. The duck’s weight should be printed on the package, but if it isn’t, make sure you have weighed it before hand. You can set a timer to tell you when the time period you calculated from the pounds has passed, or simply watch the clock.
8. Check the duck to see if it appears done after the time period is up. As with chicken and turkey, the legs should wiggle easily and the skin should be crisp but not over crispy. If the duck should seem to need a bit more time, bake it another ten minutes and then check it again in the same manner.
9. If you want the duck’s skin to be especially crispy, you can place it under the broiler for 10 minutes after the initial cooking period is done.
10. Take the duck out of the oven, transfer it to a serving dish, and remove the ties. You can put garnishes of your choice on the plate including parsley, sliced orange, and leafy greens.
11. Serve with side dishes such as green, red, and yellow vegetables, mashed, boiled, or fried potatoes, and rice. Gravy is highly recommended.
12. Gravy ideas: Make a broth with the giblets that came with the turkey, add minced onion, orange juice and/or orange zest, paprika, salt, pepper, and corn starch and water as a thickener. You can add some wine or sherry to this as well. This should of course be prepared and kept warm while the duck is cooking so it is ready to be added right away.
For additional gravy ideas check this link: UKTV: Great Gravy. And for general duck preparation tips take a look at this site: Maple Leaf Farms: Duck Cooking Tips.
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