Make Your Special Days Sweet - and Spicy!

From my earliest memories of family gatherings, duck was always the meal that signaled celebration. We all loved a juicy, crispy-skinned roast chicken. But duck! Duck was for special occasions.  

This is one of my favorite special occasion recipes. One duck can serve four, but I think that this dish is also the perfect romantic dinner for two.

Photo: Sally Pasley Vargas

 

Peach ginger jam, soy sauce, chili sauce and vinegar make a delicious spicy glaze, and the oranges, ginger and star anise tucked into the cavity perfume the meat as it cooks. Begin roasting the duck with just salt and pepper and add the glaze later. The duck will be juicy, crispy and irresistible.

Wine pairing: Julia Child suggests a “red Bordeaux-Médoc or an excellent white Burgundy wine” for her “Canard a L’Orange”, and I believe this recipe probably works with those two recommendations as well.

 

Sweet-and-Spicy Roasted Duck
Serves 2 - 4

FOR THE DUCK
One 5-to-6-pound Long Island (Pekin) duck
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 orange, cut into 6 wedges (chunks)
3 1/8-inch slices fresh ginger 3 whole star anise

FOR THE GLAZE
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons Bonnie’s Peach Ginger Jam
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1. Remove the neck and giblets from the duck cavity, and save for another use such as stock. Pull off fat the deposits from the cavity and neck flap skin. Prick the skin all over with the tip of a paring knife, taking care not to pierce the flesh.
2. Sprinkle the cavity and outside of the duck all over with salt. Place the orange pieces, fresh ginger, and star anise in the cavity. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the neck flap under the bird. Set it on a rack, breast side up, in a roasting pan. If time allows, refrigerate overnight, uncovered. Otherwise, proceed to next step.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast the duck for 2 hours, carefully pouring off excess fat as needed.
4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice, Peach Ginger jam, soy sauce, chili sauce and rice vinegar until combined.
5. Remove the duck from the oven and brush with the glaze. Return to the oven, basting every 10 to 12 minutes, for 30 minutes longer, or until the skin is crisp and golden and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165 degrees. Check often and tent with foil if the glaze starts to brown too quickly. (Total cooking time is about 2 1/2 hours).  Remove and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.