CRISP ROAST DUCK WITH PORT WINE GLAZE
The Best Recipe, by Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Pekin ducks, also called Long Island ducks, are the only choice in most supermarkets. Almost always sold frozen, the duck must defrost in the refrigerator for at least one day before cooking. To feed six people, steam one duck after the other and then roast all the pieces together in an oversized roasting pan or a large jelly-roll pan.
Serves 2 TO 3
PORT WINE GLAZE
• 1¼ cups port wine
• 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled & cut into thin slivers
• 4 fresh thyme sprigs
CRISP ROAST DUCK
• 1 whole Pekin duck (about 4½ pounds), neck, giblets, and all visible fat discarded, and rinsed
• Salt and ground black pepper
1. FOR THE GLAZE: Bring all ingredients to boil in small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to scant 1/4 cup, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and discard garlic and thyme; set glaze aside until ready to use.
2. FOR THE DUCK: Meanwhile, set V-rack in large, high-sided roasting pan and position duck, breast side up, on rack. Add water to just below bottom of duck. Bring water to boil over high heat, cover pan tightly with aluminum foil (or pan cover, if available), adjust heat to medium (to maintain a slow, steady boil), and steam, adding more hot water to maintain water level if necessary, until skin has pulled away from at least one leg. For duck with very moist, tender meat and slightly crisp skin once roasted, steam about 40 minutes. Steam 10 minutes longer for somewhat denser meat and very crisp skin after roasting. Transfer duck to carving board and, when cool enough to handle, cut into six pieces, two wings, two legs, and two breast halves. (Cooled duck, either whole or cut into pieces, can be wrapped in foil and refrigerated overnight. Reserve back and carcass for another use.)
3. Adjust oven rack to bottom position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Season pieces on both sides with salt and pepper to taste and position skin side down in lightly oiled roasting pan. Roast, carefully pouring off fat if more than two tablespoons accumulate in pan, until skin on breast pieces is rich brown color and crisp, about 25 minutes. Transfer breast pieces to platter and cover with foil to keep warm. Again, pour off excess fat from pan, turn leg/thigh and wing pieces skin side up, and continue roasting until skin on these pieces is deep brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Again, pour off excess fat from pan. Return breast pieces to pan and brush both sides of every piece with glaze. Roast until glaze is hot and richly colored on duck pieces, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
CRISP ROAST DUCK WITH ORANGE GLAZE
The lime juice keeps this thick, syrupy glaze from being too sweet.
Follow recipe for Crisp Roast Duck with Port Wine Glaze, substituting 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 2 tablespoons honey for port and omitting garlic and thyme.