One of my favorite recipe’s my father has perfected is “Roast Duck.” He prides himself on the incredible crispy skin. This recipe covers his essentials.
The first thing my Dad would say is that you have to use a fresh duck. Frozen just does not compare. He also stresses the importance of planning ahead with this meal. That is allowing the duck to dry, ideally overnight.
Remove tips of wings, neck and head, feet, tail, any organs (heart, liver, etc), and all fat from inside cavity. Wash bird and pat dry with paper towels. If possible prop duck up so any juices flow out bottom; let duck air dry thoroughly, overnight is best. You’ll need several hours, at a minimum to really dry the bird.
Make duck stock using fried onions, chopped duck pieces (I do not use the head), water or combo water/chicken broth to cover, some fresh herbs. Basically you brown onions in oil then put in pot, brown duck pieces in same pan. Deglaze pan with a dash of port or other wine and scrape any bits of stuff off pan bottom and add to pot with all liquid from pan. Simmer, covered, 45+ mins, strain, save for sauce.
To make sauce I start with a few tablespoons raspberry vinegar and sugar, cook down until syrupy, add 1/2 cup port wine, then add to duck stock. Thicken with a few tablespoons cornstarch added to 1/2 cup cold water. You can add other things to sauce, like jam or even BBQ sauce. It is all a matter to taste. Do not use Balsamic vinegar. If you do not have flavored vinegar just skip the vinegar/sugar syrup.
A good trick to really dry the skin before cooking is to take baking power and Kosher salt, about 1:3 ratio and pat duck all over with this mixture. Shake off all excess.
Heat oven to 475F. When hot place duck cook in vertical position so fat drains. In 35-45 mins skin will be a beautiful brown. Remove from oven, lower temp to 400. Baste duck with your favorite coating. I have used KC Masterpeice BBQ sauce, or mixture of this and prepared sauce. I have added some jam, honey, use your imagination. Cook 10-15 minutes more. Be careful not to burn. Remove duck and let rest 10 mins to drain excess fat.
Should be ready to eat!