Roast Duck with Honey, Lavender, and Thyme

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Mediterranean Kitchen

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 1998

  • About

This recipe, inspired by Alain Senderens but with many liberties taken, is among our favorites for duck. It evolved as I was planning a special Provençal menu featuring duck and was considering the aromatic herbs of the region. That same day, as I was picking up flowers for the restaurant, I noticed that our florist had lavender blossoms for sale. They smelled so wonderful that I decided then to use lavender with the duck.


  • ¾ cup lavender honey (see Note 1)
  • 2 cups Duck Stock (recipe follows; see Note 2)
  • ¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ducks, about 5 pounds each, necks and wing tips removed, excess fat removed, and rendered if desired (see Note 3)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh lavender or 2 teaspoons dried


Combine the honey, duck stock, and chopped thyme in a small saucepan. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat and simmer 5 minutes. Season with the vinegar if using and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the ducks on racks in shallow roasting pans. Place 1 sprig each thyme and lavender (or replace the fresh lavender with a scant teaspoon dried) in the cavity of each duck. Sprinkle the ducks inside and out with salt and pepper. Roast until fully cooked and tender, about 1 hour, basting with the honey mixture for the last 5 minutes of roasting.

Cut the ducks into quarters and arrange 2 quarters on each of 4 serving plates (see Note 4). Warm the honey mixture and spoon over the duck. The ideal accompaniment is little potatoes roasted in the rendered duck fat and blanched carrots sautéed in butter and sprinkled with parsley.