A succulent whole oven-roasted duck with a pomegranate soy glaze is an attention-grabbing centerpiece fit for Sunday dinner or the holidays! Stuffed with oranges and herbs, roasted on top of mirepoix, and basted with a sauce with bold flavors, this duck will become a new favorite! Read more for tips on how to dress a whole duck, roasting for optimum flavor, and a recipe that will easily become a new favorite!
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Recently, I was asked by a follower of my blog if I could do a Facebook live video on alternative meat centerpieces to turkey for the holiday season. If you know me, one thing led to another and I ended up doing a whole whopping video series. Not just one video, but multiple videos on different roast ideas.
- Stuffed Lamb Breast with Apple Cider Pan Sauce
- Lemon Herb Roasted Cornish Hens
- Honey Mustard Glazed Rack of Pork Roast
One roast idea that immediately came to my mind was a whole roasted duck! I wanted to give this roasted duck recipe very much my own feel instead of falling into classic duck pairings. This recipe is appropriate for the holidays yet simple enough to be enjoyed as a family Sunday dinner.
How to Cook a Whole Roast Duck
Duck is one of my favorite meats. It’s so much better than chicken in my opinion, partially because of the higher fat content I’m thinking. One of the biggest complaints I have heard against duck is it being too fatty and greasy of a meat.
It can be.
However, if you follow my steps to properly roasting a duck, you’ll only taste a succulent and moist duck instead of grease.
The key to roasting a whole duck without it tasting like greasy is to properly render the fat so that it bastes the duck. This is done by slow roasting the duck in an oven over a longer period of time. The average cooking time for a whole roast duck is about 2 ½ hours.
How to Prepare a Whole Duck Roast
I tried to keep the preparation of the duck rather simple because the sauce that I was going to baste it with was going to be in-your-face flavorful.
I rubbed the duck down with salt and pepper and then stuffed the bird with orange halves and herbs commonly found in poultry seasoning: thyme, sage, and rosemary. Stuffing the bird helps to infuse the meat with aromatics and increasing the flavor of the meat. The oranges also release their juices as steam while roasting which helps to keep the meat moist from the inside.
Trussing any roast is crucial to result in even cooking. I highly recommend watching my Facebook Live video as I go into more detail about the how and why of trussing. Simply put, though, you tie the wings so that they are close to the body of the duck, wrap around the back, and come around again to tie the legs together. If done correctly, trussing prevents appendages to become overcooked while the rest of the bird is still coming up to temperature.
What Do You Need to Roast a Whole Duck
In my live video, I showed roasting the duck in one of those old-school roasters (affiliate) that everyone’s grandma has and I roasted it on top of some chopped up mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrot). Again, doing so infuses flavor throughout the roasting process. This also prevents the bird from sticking to the bottom as the duck needs to be flipped halfway through roasting for optimum moistness.
An alternative way of roasting that I have seen is roasting the whole duck on a wire rack over a cookie sheet tray, or roasting in a roasting pan with a wire rack. These methods would definitely result in a crispy skin!
In order to keep my duck from being served underdone or overdone, I used a meat thermometer (affiliate) placed in the thigh of the duck to let me know when to pull the bird from the oven. Most people will tell you to pull the bird right when it reaches 165 degrees but I will tell you to pull the whole duck out of the oven when your thermometer reaches 155 degrees. Because of carry-over cooking, if you roasted your whole duck until it reached 165 degrees, it would be overcooked after allowing the duck to rest.
To baste this lovely sauce, you can either use a baster (affiliate) or a large spoon (affiliate). I baste the bird a couple of times throughout roasting so that a nice layer of glaze is built on the bird without it getting too caramelized right from the beginning.
Pomegranate Soy Glaze for Whole Roast Duck
When looking through my Flavor Bible (affiliate, seriously, if you don’t have this book you need it! Check out this post of other books I recommend) of good flavors to pair with duck, the obvious orange came right up. I wanted something unique though and was so happy that pomegranate was also on the list.
It makes sense though, duck is a fatty meat and needs a strong flavor to cut through that umami to be interesting for the palate. Well, I made this a deliciously strong glaze. It has the following:
- Pomegranate juice
- Orange zest
- Soy Sauce
- Star Anise
- Black pepper
This sauce definitely reminds me of some of the spices found within Chinese 5-Spice which inspired me to add soy sauce instead of salt to the glaze. The result is a pungent and flavorful sauce that cuts through the fattiness of duck while still being sweet and complimentary.
Reducing this glaze by about half helps the glaze to stick better to the duck, rather than just running off and sticking to the bottom of your roasting pan.
This pomegranate soy glaze makes enough glaze so that you can feel free to have it on the side as a sauce to accompany the duck for dinner!
What to Serve with Whole Roast Duck
Duck is super versatile as far as what you ought to serve with it, I do feel like a nice green bean salad or a Mediterranean couscous salad would be perfect with this though. Something fresh to cleanse the palate.
However, I do have a whole list of awesome side dishes that would go well with this Whole Roasted Duck with Pomegranate Soy Glaze. This works especially well if you happen to make duck for the holidays. Be sure to check out 20+ Unique and Gourmet Holiday Side Dishes.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe, especially during the holidays and that it becomes a favorite of yours. Let me know how you enjoyed it down below with a comment (and a rating!)
For a full holiday dinner, be sure to check out these posts:
- 18+ Easy and Gourmet Holiday Party Appetizers
- 15+ Main Dishes for a Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner
- 35+ Must-Have Holiday Dessert Recipes
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- 1 5 ½-6 pound whole duck
- To taste salt and pepper
- 1 whole orange, cut in half
- ¾ ounce thyme, rosemary, sage
Optional Mirepoix Ingredients for Roasting
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 2 stalks celery, large chop
- 2 carrot sticks, peeled and large chop
- 60 ounce pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 medium orange, zested
- .5 ounce ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 each shallot, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 5 each star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Put pomegranate sauce ingredients together in a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer until reduced by a quarter. Strain sauce and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and if roasting in an old school roasting pan, place mirepoix ingredients on the bottom.
- Season duck with salt and pepper. Stuff with halved oranges and herbs. Truss duck with butchers twine to keep it together. Place duck on top of mirepoix, breast side down, or a wire rack, if not roasting with mirepoix. Stick a meat thermometer into the thigh of the duck and set temperature to 155 degrees. Place duck in the oven on the middle shelf and roast until halfway cooked (about 80 degrees) and flip duck over to breast side up.
- Baste duck occasionally throughout roasting to help develop caramelized skin. When thigh meat temperature reaches 140 degrees, turn oven temperature up to 425 to help deepen the caramelization of the duck skin.
- Once duck reaches 155 degrees, pull from oven and allow to rest for juices to redistribute. Slice duck and serve.
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Anolon Tri-Ply Clad Stainless Steel 17-Inch by 12.5-Inch Large Rectangular Roaster with Nonstick Rack
Calphalon Classic Stainless Steel Cookware, Sauce Pan, 1 1/2-quart
ThermoPro TP-16 Large LCD Digital Cooking Food Meat Thermometer for Smoker Oven Kitchen Candy BBQ Grill Thermometer Clock Timer with Stainless Steel Temperature Probe, Standard, Silver
Serving Size6 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 1819Total Fat 130gSaturated Fat 44gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 76gCholesterol 381mgSodium 972mgCarbohydrates 71gFiber 4gSugar 61gProtein 89g
This nutrition information is just an estimate.