This recipe for whole roast duck is easy, delicious and juicy. We start with a fresh whole female duck - around 2 kilos or 4,5 pounds for 6 persons.
Most important - take the duck out of the fridge at least 1 hour prior to putting it in the oven so that it comes to room temperature. This is done so that the meat relaxes and is the same temperature throughout, rather than remaining cold on the inside and thus it will cook more evenly.
Rub the entire bird with fresh lemon, salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place a whole pear studded with cloves inside the cavity with some lemon slices, a few whole garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme. Truss the bird by tying the legs together and the wings flat against the body.
A lot of recipes suggest poking or cutting the skin as we do when we cook a single duck breast - this is not only not necessary but also best not to do, as you want the fat to cook the meat and stay inside the bird.
Preheat the oven to 180 c or 350 f and bake breast side down for 40 min. Basting 1 time after 20 minutes. After 40 - 50 min turn ithe bird over, baste again, then crank up the oven to 225 c or 400 f for the final 25 minutes - this will crisp up the breast skin. The total cooking time is just over 1 hour, or 16 - 17 minutes per pound. This is for rare. If you want med rare leave in an additional 10 min on the first portion of cooking - when the oven is at 180c /350f degrees.
Take the bird out of the oven and let it rest for 10 - 15 minutes before carving.
Serve with red wine and shallot sauce - see recipe on my orher blog post here
1 whole duck
1 teaspoon fleure de sel
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 whole pear- pealed
3 garlic cloves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme and Rosemary