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How to roast a duck?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've only tried roasting a duck a couple times, I wasn't happy either time. First time I did the low and slow method, 2 1/2 hrs at 325 F(I think) starting with a hot oven. Last weekend I tried again, the wrapping gave instructions pretty much like how I do a chicken, hot to begin, then 375 F for about an hour. Both methods seem to produce a really tough bird, but the fast and hot one left the duck too fatty for my tastes (although I didn't mind the duck fat on the potatoes).

The only roast duck I've eaten is my own. Is it possible for roast a duck to be somewhat tenderish? I know that duck is dense, but I've had non-tough (non-roasted) duck prepared other ways. I'm assuming that the ducks from the grocer are farm raised and fairly young, surely they must be as tender as possible (for duck).

Should I just give up and pan roast the breasts and braise/etc. the legs separately?
post #2 of 7
Hi, I live in the south west of france and here we have some of the best duck in the world and we tend to preserve the legs [confit de canard] and the breasts [magret] can be pan fried, grilled or roasted served pink or well done they are generaly tender and the meat is not to fatty. These are Barbery ducks a cross breed bred for the table. However when I was in the UK we cooked with Aylsbury ducks, they neede to be cooked for considerable longer to get them tender and to lose some of the fat and although they apeared to be quite large birds there was not a lot of meat on them. There is of course wild duck this as much less fat and the meat can be gamey. Its pehaps best if you check out what breed of duck you are buying before changing the cooking times and heat of your oven.
Bon appetit
steve masterchefinfrance.com
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response, chefinfrance.

I used a frozen Muscovy duck, I think it's the same breed as your Barbery duck. I've had great luck with pan roasting the breast. I just use the legs and carcass for cassoulet, maybe I'll try rillettes next time.

Is is possible to roast a whole Barbery duck? It seems to me that for the breast to turn out pink, the legs would be very undercooked. Is it possible that the Barbery was bred so that the breast could be removed and cooked separately?

I suppose I could make a foil tent over the breast like I do with chicken. Or stuff dressing/sausage/butter under the skin for insulation.

A few minutes later-

I just looked in "Cooking at Home" by Jacques Pepin and Julia Child. It says that frozen ducks from the grocery store(in the US) are generally too old to roast, all the recipes they give have you cook the breast and legs separately.

Hmmm.... Maybe choucroute garnie with duck.
post #4 of 7

roast duck

Hi again. That explains why its a bit tough, Muscovy duck should only be eaten when young. You could try to find Rouen or nantes these are exellent for roasting pink. Alternativly you could stuff your duck with a none meat stuffing {apple and walnut, sage and onion etc] this would allow you to slow roast in a moderate oven for a couple of hours, the stuffing would stop the duck cooking from the inside keeping the breast meat from drying out whilst allowing you to over cook the legs to get them tender. you would have to baste the legs often and protect the breast with foil. Best of luck.
Steve masterchefinfrance.com
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all your suggestions, I'll be ready the next time I roast a duck.
post #6 of 7
There's a wonderful article by Janet Fletcher that I found a while ago. I found it very useful in understanding the various techniques that are used for roasted duck, and it helped improve my roasted duck quite a bit. Bringing duck home / A guide to cooking a bird that's both crisp and juicy
Hope it helps.
post #7 of 7
Thank you Anneke,

Great article, I saved it :)
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