Roasted Christmas Duck?
This recipe for the perfectly roasted duck is super delicious and it's relatively easy to make. In Denmark we eat roasted duck all year around, however, it's a very traditional dish for Christmas where it's served for dinner at Christmas eve. A traditional Danish dinner at Christmas eve consist of roasted duck or pork, served with boiled potatoes, Danish sugar browned potatoes, Danish red cabbage, gravy and for dessert the very popular Danish Risalamande which is a kind of rice pudding with whipped cream and almonds.
The Secret Ingredient
This recipe for roasted Christmas duck is the one my mother has always used and still uses today. The secret in this recipe is the stuffing which gives a super delicious taste and it helps to keep the duck nice and juicy. The stuffing is made from lightly fried apples, onion, prunes, thyme twigs, salt and pepper. Another important thing to remember, when you want to cook the perfect duck, is to pick a duck which weights at least 3 kg (7 lb). The smaller ducks have only been living for about 6 weeks before they are slaughtered which means that they haven't had the time to grow much meat. A 3 kg (7 lb) duck, which is perfect for about 4 people, has been living for about 8-14 weeks before it's slaughtered.
We normally calculate 35 minutes of cooking time per 500 g (30 min. per pound) at 150 C (300 F). This time frame is only for guidance, another way of checking if the duck is done is to check the legs of the duck, they should be loose and able to be pull off. When cooking the duck try avoid using the ovens function where the air is circulated, this will dry out the duck. When the duck is done cut it out using a knife. If you are using a meat shear you risk to hit a bone and get bone pieces in the meat.
If you are looking for other traditional Danish Christmas recipes you can find some at our Christmas archive.
Perfectly Roasted Duck
Preparation time: 4 hours
Danish title: Andesteg
1 duck (minimum 3 kg/7 lb)
thyme twigs or dried
salt and pepper
1 liter (1/4 gal) water
Step 1: Remove the giblets and clean the in- and outside of the duck thoroughly. Put the giblets in a large oven tray.
Step 2: Cut off some of the fat/skin at the neck and end of the duck. Put the fat/skin in a large frying pan together with two diced apples, onions and prunes. Add salt, pepper and some dried thyme or a couple of fresh thyme twigs to the pan. Fry it all for a couple of minutes at medium heat.
Step 3: Rub the duck thoroughly with kosher salt, both inside and outside.
Step 4: Use a spoon to stuff the duck with the fried apples, onion and prunes but leave out the fat/skin. Close the end/opening of the duck using food metal needles or thread so that the stuffing don't fall out.
Step 5: Cut off the tip of the wings - they only tend to get burned anyway.
Step 6: In the oven tray with the giblets, put the tip of the wings and pour over 1 liter (1/4 gal) of water. This water can later be used to make gravy.
Step 7: Place the duck on an oven grid with the back upwards. Place the grid, with the duck, at the middle position in the oven and place the oven tray, with the giblets, underneath so that the fat from the duck can drip down into the tray.
Step 8: Cook the duck at 150 C (300 F) for about 35 minutes per half kg (30 min. per pound) - therefore, a 3 kg/7 lb duck should cook for about 3.5 hours. Cook the duck without using circulating air this will dry out the duck. When half the time is up turn over the duck so that the breast is upwards. Sprinkle the breast with plenty of salt. It's the salt that makes the skin crisp.
Step 9: Cook the duck until it's done. A good indication that the duck is done is when the legs are loose and can be pulled of easily.
Step 10: If you want the skin of the duck more crisp use the grill function in the oven - just remember to keep an eye on the duck, so that you don't burn the skin.
By Kim Nielsen