EDITED: 27 September 2013
This is the “famous” duck recipe, stolen from my mom’s best friend in California, that my parents bug me to make for them all the time. I’m serious – they’ve asked me to come over and make it for them, and then not invited me to the dinner. It’s okay, I’m over it (and my mom is probably reading this). Moving on.
Since originally posting this recipe, I have made a few simple changes… resulting in The Boyfriend devouring the majority of a 4-pound duck in one sitting. I felt it was my duty to share this altered recipe with you. This dish goes great with Butternut Squeek soup, Duck Duck Asparagus, and most other veggies.
1 medium-sized duck (3-4 lbs)
1 lemon, washed and quartered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
2 tsp Szechuan seasoning
1 tbsp fresh Oregano, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh Sage, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh Rosemary
Kosher or Himalayan Pink Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Freshly cracked white pepper, to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425*F.
Cut a lemon in half, removing any seeds you can find as well as the ends. Carefully cut off some of the lemon rind (optional) and set aside. In a small bowl, combine half of the fresh herbs with the shallot and half of the minced garlic, add a small squirt of lemon juice.
Rinse duck and pat dry, making sure to remove giblets (there is usually a plastic bag inside the duck with the heart, liver, etc.) – feel free to toss the bag, I do not yet have a duck liver recipe. I usually cut off the really super fatty and ugly pieces, but I tend to go a little overboard and you really don’t need to, so… ignore this sentence. Just clean it up a little. Score* the breast and other fatty areas of the bird and place breast side down on a greased roasting rack (on top of a roasting pan). You will need the pan to collect the drippings from the duck, and the rack to make sure the duck gets crispy instead of just sitting in its own juices for two hours (which is also okay, just not for this recipe).
Season the bottom of the duck with salt, pepper, and Szechuan seasoning. Rub all over the back and legs, pushing in slightly so the spices get into the skin. Flip the duck over so the breast is facing up. Season the breast and remainder of duck with salt, pepper, and Szechuan seasoning, as well as half of the fresh herbs and garlic. Rub seasoning into the skin making sure to get some into the scored fat. Stuff the duck with the cut up lemon, shallot, and remaining herbs and garlic.
Roast the duck in the oven, covered with foil, for one hour. Reduce oven temp to 350*F, remove foil, and cook for an additional 45-60 minutes (bigger bird = longer cooking time). Let rest for 5 minutes before carving.
Reminder: The lemon is just to add flavor from the juices. While a little lemon doesn’t seem to have any effect on my weight tracking, feel free to toss it after cooking if you don’t want to eat it.
* My sister asked me to explain scoring in case some of my readers aren’t sure what it means, so to “score” meat means cutting deep enough into the skin to help render the fat, without cutting into the meat below. Using a small sharp knife, cut five or six diagonal lines across the skin and through the fat layer. Cut four or five diagonal lines in the opposite direction, creating a cross-hatch pattern Be careful not to cut through the meat below the skin, as this puts you at risk for drying out the meat.