If you can get your hands on a pastured duck, I highly recommend making a roast duck. I think it's even better than chicken and it's much easier to roast. With chickens, you have to do a lot of basting. Not required with a duck. Plus, it's nice to have a little variety.
One of the best things about a roast duck is the reduction sauce. Not only is a reduction sauce unbelievably delicious (and makes the leftovers so good the next day), but it adds lots of good fat to the meal. Additionally, the stock makes it much more digestible and add lots of minerals.
It also makes clean up a snap.
I made a cherry reduction sauce a few nights ago and it was fantastic. Pretty good for my first attempt!
I'm telling you, it's very easy to do and your family (or dinner guests) will love it. You really can't go wrong with this sauce. It sounds very fancy but it's so easy to make. And the duck and the sauce can be made ahead. The duck can be served at room temperature and served with sauce warmed on the stove.
Roast Duck with Cherry Reduction Sauce
Roaster and rack (If you don't have a roaster, I got a wonderful Granite Ware roaster from Amazon — only $15.99! Not sure what I paid for for the stainless steel rack but it was probably under $10; I found it at a restaurant supply store)
Pastured duck, preferably one that has not been fed soy — ask your farmer (1 whole)
Duck, chicken, or beef stock (1 pint – 16 ounces)
Sour cherries, organic if possible (1 cup – 8 ounces) — you can use regular cherries if you can't find sour cherries
Sherry or red wine vinegar (1/2 cup – 4 ounces)
Butter, grass-fed if possible (2 ounces) — where to buy butter
Shallots (2) — I did not have shallots so I just used 1/4 of a yellow onion
Sucanat, you can also use maple syrup; if you want to make this GAPS-friendly, use honey (1 tsp) — where to buy sucanat;where to buy maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper — where to buy black pepper
Roasting the Duck
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Take the duck out of the fridge and take out the organs from the cavity and set aside (You can eat the heart and liver — or feed them to your children if you have any. Use the neck and other organs for making stock.)
3. Prick the bird all over with a fork, then pat it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Place the duck in roasting pan, breast up (as shown), on a rack and truss with kitchen twine.
5. Roast for 45 minutes.
6. Using wooden spoons (and/or tongs), flip the duck over and roast for another 45 minutes.
7. Flip the duck again and roast for 45 more minutes.
8. When done, let rest for at least 15 minutes on a cutting board.
9. Be sure to save the fat to use for cooking, and save the bones for stock.
Deglazing the Pan/Making the Sauce
1. With the duck set aside, pour off all but a few tablespoons of the duck fat from your roasting pan. Save the extra fat in a jar — it's great cooking fat!
2. Put the roasting pan on the stove (you can spread it across 2 burners).
3. Add the chopped shallots, vinegar and rapadura or maple syrup.
4. Use a wooden spoon or other implement to clean the stuck bits of meat off of the pan.
5. Cook for several minutes until the liquid thickens. Set the heat to medium high.
6. Add 2 cups of homemade chicken or duck stock (it's fine if it's frozen).
7. Let boil rapidly until the liquid reduces by half and the sauce is nice and thick and coats the back of a spoon.
8. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
9. Stir in two tablespoons of butter and the cherries.
10. Carve and plate the duck. Ladle the sauce over the meat and serve.
Serves 4. If you want leftovers, roast 2 ducks for 4 people.