To Roast a Duck

Caneton roti

Preparation info

    • Difficulty


Appears in

Sud de France

By Caroline Conran

Published 2012

  • About


Une canette is a young female duck, un caneton is a young male duck and un canard is an adult drake.

To roast the duck, preheat the oven to 200°C, put sage, garlic and salt inside the duck and place it – as it is, no oil or salt on the skin – in an oiled roasting tin. Let it roast, undisturbed, for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 180°C and continue to roast (undisturbed) for a further 1½ hours.

Remove the duck to a hot dish and allow to stand in a warm place (e.g. the oven turned off, with the door open) for 15 minutes. Spoon all the fat off the roasting tin (which can be kept in the refrigerator for roasting potatoes) and use a little of it to fry the duck liver until just firm.

Make the gravy by deglazing the roasting tin with wine and orange juice (or you could use vinegar and honey) and a bit of stock, stirring in half a tablespoon of flour to thicken it. Cook the flour, taste for seasoning and serve in a bowl or sauce-boat.


Ducks never seem to get any easier to carve; it helps to know that the top thigh joints are tucked away right underneath the bird and you have to pull the whole leg outwards with your fingers to expose them, then feel for them with the tip of a smallish knife, wriggle it into the ball and socket joint and twist the knife to cut through. When carving the breast, it is best to remove the curved wishbone first, and to take off each breast in one piece. It can then be more easily sliced.

Serve with fried apples (see how to cook them in the next recipe) and a salad of endive.