Here’s the trouble with roasting a duck. When the breast is roasted pale and perfect, the legs are still rubbery raw. When the legs are moist and perfectly done, the breast has cooked to leather.
Fortunately the WesternBEEF offers a very good duck at only $2.99 a pound and Julia Child has figured the cooking out. Usually these recipe’s are mine. This one is hers. It works better than anything I’ve tried.
Put a rack or support in the bottom of a tightly lidded casserole.
Defrost your duck, empty and wash it, pat it dry and put it breast up in the casserole pot and rub the whole bird with lemon.
Salt and pepper the interior and add a bunch of fresh thyme and an inch or so of clean, cold water.
Cover it, fire it up and bubble it for 30 minutes.
While it’s bubbling, chop up some carrot, celery and onion, saving all the peels. And open a bottle of red.
After half an hour, lift out and drain the duck, preserving that precious liquid. Strain the liquid and set it aside and preheat your oven to 325.
Now the duck goes back in this time breast side down and covered with the vegetables.
Pour in the wine, replace the lid and put it in the preheated oven to braise.
Let it braise for another 30 minutes in the oven.
Now it gets easy.
Turn the oven up to 375, lift out and drain the duck again, strain the wine and add it to the stock you strained earlier, and put the liquids in the fridge. Place the duck breast-side up on a rack and brown it crispy and insanely good in the oven, about another half hour, maybe 40 minutes.
Oh wow, it’s perfect, can you smell that?
Eat it, saving every bone! At some point boil the bones and all the duck scraps and gizzards and stuff, the carrot peelings and the onion and celery cut-offs you saved in the wine-stock for 30 minutes or so, then strain that one last time and refrigerate that luscious liquid. It will look something like this.
When it congeals, take the fat layer off and freeze the stock. We’ll use it later this winter when these guys are out of town.
Don't even think about it. ;-)