Roast Duck with Root Vegetables

1 whole duck, 5 pounds
8 garlic cloves peeled
salt and black pepper to taste
3/4 cup orange or tangerine juice, fresh, save peels
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups red onions, medium dice
1 cup parsnips, peeled, 1 inch dice
1 cup turnips, peeled, 1 inch dice
2 cups carrots, 1 inch dice
1 1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Rinse the duck inside and out with cold water, reserving the neck and liver. Trim the excess fat and skin.
  3. Pat dry and make 8 incisions in the duck breast and thighs, inserting a garlic clove into each incision. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork, but don't pierce the meat.
  4. Rub the duck inside and out with orange or tangerine peels.
  5. Truss the duck and place breast side down on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes.
  6. Turn duck breast side up and baste with fat; reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and continue roasting and basting occasionally until desired doneness is achieved, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  7. Heat 1½ tablespoons butter over medium-low heat, add the onions, and cook until they begin to soften, 2 minutes.
  8. Add the duck liver and cook, stirring until liver is firm, about 5 minutes. Remove and cut liver into ½-inch dice, then set aside with the onions.
  9. In the same pan, sautee the the parsnips, turnips, and carrots; cook 1 minute.
  10. Add the remaining butter and ½ cup (4 ounces, 115 ml) orange juice. Cook until just tender and liquid is almost gone, vegetables should get a nice brown caramelization (about 10 minutes). When tender, add the liver and onions back into the vegetable mixture.
  11. While duck is roasting, make the sauce base. Bring the duck neck, remaining orange juice, wine, honey, thyme, and 1 teaspoon (2 g) pepper to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to 1 cup (8 ounces, 235 ml).
  12. When duck is cooked, remove and let stand 10 minutes before carving.
  13. Meanwhile, pour the fat and pan juices into a container. Let stand until the clear yellow fat separates and rises to the top. Pour or skim off the yellow fat (which can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated to use as cooking fat) and pour pan juices back into roasting pan.
  14. Return pan to heat and add sauce base. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce to sauce consistency and pour into a sauceboat. (Sauce may need to be thickened.)
  15. Carve the duck and serve with the vegetable mixture and sauce.

Chef: Duck has some pink color that indicates it is less than 155F which is the health department recommendation, not carved properly, should be cut on a bias to have less skin in the bites. The skin is a nice color and duck is well seasoned and flavored. Sauce is a good color and has a nice citrus taste. Vegetables were cooked all the way through, onions overdone (there were burnt bits in the root veg).

Personal/Team: The flavor of the duck was good, could have spent more time developing the sauce to get a thicker consistency. Many of the vegetables were very black, but they were cooked, could have used more liquid and given them more attention while cooking.

Lessons Learned:
1. Duck does not yield as much meat as a chicken or turkey. You can expect 2-3 dishes from a bird. There are a lot of fatty parts and more bone than other poultry. You can use the duck fat, however, to make duck confit or save for other uses such as a replacement for pork fat for people that don't eat pork.
2. I adjusted the recipe above so the onions don't get overcooked while veg are cooking and cut vegetables smaller than original recipe so it's easier to cook them all the way through.
3. Carving a duck is not the same as carving a chicken. The shape is slightly different and since there is less meat, you need to be more careful when removing the breast and slicing thin and on a bias.