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For Something a Bit Different

Thursday, 10 November 2022 13:42

By Dan Clarke

To suggest serving anything but roast turkey at Thanksgiving might border on heresy.  However, our readers are a bright and adventurous lot.

We think you’ll enjoy considering some tasty alternatives for your holiday table. The following recipe was found at the website of Maple Leaf Farms, which sounds like a Canadian firm, but they have wide distribution throughout North America. They promise that this basic roast duck recipe creates a crispy skin and moist meat.

You may not want to abandon the traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but just as there are many options for using that bird at other times of the year (we have used several summertime grilling alternatives), you might want to feature this simple duck preparation on another fall day.

Wine Suggestion

We’d say you might enjoy a bolder Washington Riesling with your duck or perhaps a red from Beaujolais or an American Gamay.


Roast Duck



1 Maple Leaf Farms whole duck (5-6 lbs.), defrosted

Boiling Water

1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt

1 1/2 tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 tsp. Paprika

1 Orange, cut in quarters

1 head Garlic, paper removed and top trimmed

2 Celery Stalks, cut into 2" pieces



Make sure duck is thoroughly defrosted, if frozen. (Defrost in refrigerator for 2-3 days.) Start a large pot of water (deep enough to submerge a whole duck) on the stove, bringing to a rolling boil. Preheat oven to 425F.

Remove duck from bag. Remove orange sauce packet (if included), giblets and neck from interior. Save giblets and neck for making stock. Remove excess fat from body cavity and neck. Rinse duck inside and out under cool running water. Pat duck dry. With a large sharp fork, prick the skin all over (approach at an angle) being careful not to pierce the meat (if meat is pierced, it will dry out). Carefully put the duck in the pot of boiling water; boil for 10 minutes. This will help render out some of the fat. Remove duck and let cool. Pat duck dry.

Mix the salt, pepper and paprika. Rub the duck inside and out with the spice mixture. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan breast-side up. Stuff the orange quarters, whole head of garlic (top trimmed) and cut celery pieces into the cavity of the duck. Fold the neck skin nder, covering the cavity. Secure with a skewer.

Place the roasting pan in the oven. After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350F. After 45 minutes, remove duck from oven. Remove any fat that may have collected in the bottom of the roasting pan. Carefully turn duck over, place back on rack in roasting pan, and return to oven for 35 minutes. At the end of the 35 minutes, remove duck from oven, remove any fat that may have accumulated, and carefully turn duck back over so breast side faces up. Return to oven. If you have a 5-pound duck, cook for another 15 minutes; for a 6-pound duck, cook for another 20 minutes (total cooking time should add up to about 22 minutes per pound). Be careful not to overcook. The internal temperature should be 180F at the thickest part of the leg and thigh joint. Remove duck from oven.

Transfer duck to a cutting board and let stand 15 minutes. Remove oranges and celery from cavity and throw away. Remove head of garlic; roasted head of garlic can be used as a great spread for bread.    

Carve duck and serve.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 November 2022 14:08


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