I love roasted duck. One day I was looking for a unique and memorable way to roast the bird I had just purchased. I decided to experiment, and what I came up with was unbelievable: tender, juicy, and not too fatty, with an awesome melding of unusual flavors. If you can’t find blood oranges, you can substitute a tangelo. You can also use dried cranberries in place of the cherries.
Succulent Roast Duck
1 whole fresh or frozen duck, thawed
1 blood orange
1 2-3" stick cinnamon
1/2-1 cup dried cherries)
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 cup dark, pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pale, dry sherry
1 handful dry Thai Jasmine tea leaves
2-3 Tbls. all-purpose flour
1) Place the duck in a roasting pan. Remove the excess fat around the openings, and trim the wings. Remove the neck, gizzard, and liver, then put all these parts in a large pot of water to boil for stock while the bird cooks. The stock will be ready when the liquid has reduced by about one third.
2) Quarter the orange (or tangelo) and gently squeeze some of the juice over the bird. Place the orange quarters in the cavity of the bird, along with the cinnamon stick and the cherries (you could also use fresh cherries if you don't have dried).
3) Pour the maple syrup and sherry over the bird, then sprinkle it with cardamom.
4) Place a handful of Thai Jasmine tea leaves in one corner of the bottom
of the roasting pan.
5) Roast bird at 375º F until done rare, about 45-60 minutes. Should be 180º F on a meat thermometer stuck into the meat. (Be careful not to hit a bone, ducks are not very fleshy!)
6) Remove the pan from oven and the place bird on a platter, keeping it warm while making the gravy. Discard the tea leaves, strain off the excess fat from the pan, then scrape the remaining juices into a skillet. Make a roux with 2-3 Tbls. flour and 1-2 Tbls. butter; blend until the flour is absorbed. Add a few tablespoons of the hot juices to the roux, whisking it to form a thick, smooth paste. Add a bit of chicken bullion to taste; then whisk the roux into the pan juices. Thin the gravy with stock, as desired. If you prefer to omit the butter, simply whisk the flour and bullion into the pan juices until smooth, then thin with stock.
Serve the duck at once with mashed potatoes or boiled brown rice and fresh peas, and the gravy to top it all. Delicious!
Serves 4-6 people, depending how hungry everyone is.