Roast Duck

Canard Rôti

Preparation info

  • Serves

    6 to 8

    • Difficulty


Appears in

French Classics Made Easy

French Classics Made Easy

By Richard Grausman

Published 2011

  • About

ALTHOUGH canard à l’orange is probably the best known treatment of duck, the bird’s rich, full flavor combines well with the tart-sweetness of many fruits. This is a basic recipe for a simple roast duck—delicious in its own right—to which you can add one of three fruit sauces in the recipes that follow. As with Duck à l’Orange, the roasted duck can be carved ahead of time, and then reheated before serving (follow steps 14, 15, and 17 on the facing page).


  • 2 ducks (about 5 pounds each)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 carrot, thickly sliced
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 shallots, halved
  • 4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock


    1. Preheat the oven to 475°F with the rack placed in the middle position.
    2. Prepare the ducks for roasting: Cut off the first two joints of the wings (leaving the third portion of the wing attached to the body). Set the wings aside with the necks, hearts, and gizzards. Truss the ducks (see “How to Truss a Bird”). Prick the ducks all over with a fork to allow the fat to drain during cooking. Place the ducks on their sides in a large nonstick roasting pan, or rest them on the reserved wings (see “If You Don’t Have a Nonstick Roasting Pan,” below).
    3. Place the necks, giblets, wings (if not already under the duck), vegetables, and herbs around the duck. Sprinkle all with the salt and pepper. Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
    4. Reduce the heat to 425°F and roast for another 15 minutes, then turn the ducks onto their other sides and with a bulb baster remove as much fat from the pan as possible.
    5. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so (roasting time is about 15 minutes per pound), and for the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking, turn the ducks breast side up for even color. The ducks are done when their cavity juices run clear; or when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 160°F to 165°F.
    6. Remove the ducks from the pan and let them sit for 10 to 20 minutes before carving while you make a simple pan juice. Pour the fat from the roasting pan, retaining the vegetables and duck parts in the pan. Place the pan over high heat, add 2 cups of water or stock, and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring the vegetables from time to time.
    7. Strain the liquid into a small saucepan, discarding the solids. Over high heat, cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Skim off any remaining fat.
    8. Carve the ducks into serving pieces: Remove the legs and separate into drumstick and thigh. Carve the breast meat into several vertical slices (the outermost slices will have the remaining wing joints attached). Arrange the breast slices in the center of a serving platter and surround with the thighs and drumsticks. Spoon some of the sauce over the breast slices and serve the remaining sauce on the side.