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  • Author: Kathy Bechtel


  • One fresh duck
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/2 onion (chopped into 1/4 inch dice)
  • 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons ground juniper berries
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  1. Remove the gizzards and other items from the cavity of the duck, reserving the gizzard and neck if you wish to make the sauce.
  2. Cut off the wing tips, and reserve with the gizzard and neck for the sauce.
  3. Cut off the fatty flaps around the neck opening and trim the fat from around the opening to the cavity. Discard the trimmings. Rinse the duck inside and out and pat dry. Carefully poke the skin of the bird all over with a fork or skewer. Try not to penetrate beyond the fat layer into the meat – if you poke in too far, the juices will run out during cooking along with the fat. Poking the skin at a sharp angle instead of straight in will help.
  4. Mix the vinegar, red wine, onion and garlic cloves together in a large bowl. Roll the duck all around in the marinade, making sure plenty of marinade flows inside the cavity. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. The next morning, remove the duck from the marinade (don’t scrape it off) and reserve the marinade in a small container. Mix together the rosemary, juniper berries, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the duck, inside and out. Place the duck on a sheet pan and return to the refrigerator, uncovered, so the skin can dry out.
  6. When ready to begin roasting, preheat the oven to 325°.
  7. Set the marinated duck breast side down on a nonstick V-rack in a roasting pan. The duck must be at least 2 inches above the bottom of the pan. Pour the remaining marinade into the pan, and add 1/4 inch of water. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 1 hour.
  8. Flip the duck breast side up. Carefully prick the thighs with a fork again, avoiding penetrating the meat itself. Rotate the pan so the opposite side of the duck is now toward the back of the oven. Continue roasting until the skin is dark brown and just about all of the fat has melted off the body of the duck, another 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (This is a good time to make the sauce.)
  9. The duck is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 180°. Let the duck rest 20 minutes.
  10. When the duck is cool enough to handle, cut into 4 pieces, two breast and wing pieces, and two legs.
  11. Heat a 1/8-inch layer of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed saute pan over high heat until very hot. A nonstick pan is preferable. Season the duck pieces with salt and pepper. When the oil is almost smoking, add the duck pieces skin side down Do not disturb the duck pieces once you have set them in the pan. Allow them to sear for 1 minutes, then adjust the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the skin is crisp, about 15 minutes. Pour off any excess fat that accumulates. Sprinkle the meat side with balsamic vinegar.
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Italian
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