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Roasted Duck with Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

December 20, 2019

This crispy roasted duck with blackberry balsamic reduction sauce is such an easy (and fancy) roasted duck recipe! If you’re a little intimidated about how to roast a perfect duck, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised to find it takes only a few simple steps and just a few flavorful ingredients.

No boiling, no complicated trussing, no tools you don’t already have in your kitchen. I’ll also show you how to cut it perfectly!

A roasted duck on a plate, garnished with thyme, on a lace tablecloth.

I made this roasted duck for my family Christmas dinner this year. I’ve never served duck before for a large crowd and wasn’t exactly sure how much I would need for 9 people. I decided to make 3 ducks and figured I’d make a few filling appetizers, and a thick butternut squash soup so folks wouldn’t be too ravenous for duck.

I had about half a duck left over in the end, which was perfect. I’ll have duck hash for breakfast until the new year! I served it with my favorite Anjou pear, mushroom and red onion stuffing and sesame ginger french beans!

And for dessert, oh my, I served my white chocolate cheesecake mousse with raspberry-rosemary compote. I definitely made sure to have my coffee station set up so folks wouldn’t get too sleepy driving home after such a rich dinner!

Genevieve Morrison adding place-settings to a table in front of a Christmas tree.

A closeup of a fork holding a slice of duck meat with blackberry sauce.

A Few Tips!

1. Make sure your duck is thawed and cooked within 3-4 days of thawing

If you buy your duck frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 3 days before roasting. Duck often comes in a vacuum-sealed package and I’ve read that it will be fine to cook for up to 14 days if kept in that package. This was not the case for me.

I ordered a duck that was completely frozen, then thawed, and I waited about 6 days to make it. It was already beginning to spoil when I opened it, so I’d err on the safe side and not thaw until 3-4 days before you intend to roast and serve it.

2. Do not wash the duck

Don’t listen to your grandma! Never wash poultry. It doesn’t clean it, it doesn’t remove any bacteria, but what it WILL do is spread that bacteria all over your sink and countertops. Roasting it will kill off any salmonella bacteria as long as it’s thoroughly cooked (a meat thermometer reading 165 F. (73 C.) or higher).

3. Save the fat for other recipes or throw it away

Never pour fat down your drain. Not only will it clog your drains, it’s terrible for your city’s waste management systems and in some places, it’s actually illegal. Pour the fat into a container and place it in the refrigerator.

If you want to properly discard it, wait about 5 hours for it to harden and then scoop it into the garbage. You can also save duck fat to use instead of butter in so many recipes! It has a low smoke point and adds an incredible, rich flavor to roasted vegetables!

A roasted duck on a baking pan.

A Few Common Questions:

1. How long does the duck take to roast?

A 5 pound Peking duck will take 3 hours to roast, total.

  • 1 hour to roast breast-side up
  • 40 minutes to roast breast-side down
  • 40 minutes to roast breast-side up and brushed with a balsamic / orange juice mixture
  • 40 minutes with a balsamic / honey mixture

2. How many people will 1 duck serve?

It will serve about 3-4 people, provided it’s not the only thing for dinner. Duck is more rich than chicken or turkey, so a little goes a longer way than other poultry, but if you want to be sure no one leaves hungry, I’d serve it with a soup and a few sides.

3. What kind of roasting pan should I use to roast duck?

You want to use a somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet that will lift the duck away from its dripping fat. A roasting duck can produce about 16-24 oz. of fat! It’s a lot, so you want to be sure your pan can collect it all, and you have something to keep the duck lifted away from it.

4. What do I need to make this recipe?

For the duck:

  • somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet
  • cutting board and large, sharp knife
  • basting brush
  • bakers string
  • small bowl

For the blackberry & balsamic sauce:

  • a sauce pan
  • potato masher
  • small mesh strainer (if you want to remove blackberry seeds)

Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce  – Step by Step

A step by step process showing how to make blackberry sauce.

1. In a sauce pan, add 6 oz. blackberries, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp. of sugar and 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Use a potato masher to break apart the berries, and give it a little stir. Turn heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely reduced.

2. You don’t have to remove the seeds, but if you want a perfectly smooth, seedless sauce, simply push it through a small mesh strainer. Place it in a container and refrigerate until your duck is ready to serve.

Roasted Duck – Step by Step

A step by step process showing how to prep duck for roasting.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. (176 C.)Remove your duck from its packaging and remove the neck and giblets that are tucked inside the cavity. The giblets are usually tucked pretty far back, so make sure you find and remove it. Either discard or use in another recipe.

2. Use a sharp knife to score the duck fat, making a criss-cross pattern across the breast. You don’t want to cut into the meat, just the fat, which will be about half an inch to an inch thick. You’ll also want to slice and poke the fatty flapping skin around the cavity to allow for better fat draining.

3. Mix 3 tbsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika in a bowl, then give the entire duck a luxurious massage with it. Make sure to cover the every inch, including the underside and inside the cavity.

4. Inside the cavity, stuff half an orange, sliced in 2 wedges, a few sprigs of rosemary and 6-8 garlic cloves also sliced in half. You don’t need to remove the skins, as these aromatics will be discarded with the bones.

A step by step process showing how to roast duck.

5. Tuck the flapping skin in a bit to hold everything in, and tie the legs together with bakers string.

6. Place the duck breast-side up on your baking pan. For easy cleanup, you might want to line your baking pan with tin-foil first. Place duck on the lowest rack and set a timer for 1 hour.

7. After an hour, remove the pan and carefully flip the duck over. Place back in the oven for 40 minutes.

8. Remove the duck and flip it back to breast-side up. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. of orange juice. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven and re-brush after 20 minutes.

A step by step process showing how to brush duck.

9. Remove the duck and, in the same small bowl, add 1 tbsp. of honey, and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven and re-brush after 20 minutes.

10. Remove your duck. Make sure it’s completely done by using a meat thermometer in the breast and thigh. It should read at least 165 F. (73 C.) degrees. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it.

How to Cut Roasted Duck – Step by Step

Again, make sure to wait at least 15 minutes after your duck is roasted before cutting or it will simply be too hot. The skin will also become more firm as it cools and adhere to the meat better.

A step by step process showing how to slice duck meat.

1. With a sharp knife, remove the wings. There won’t be a lot of meat on the wings, so I usually just snack on these while I work on the rest of the duck 😉

2. Remove the drum-stick legs by slicing them away, and cutting into the leg socket and twisting until it comes loose. You can remove the meat from the drum sticks or simply serve them whole.

3. Slice the breast meat. There is a breast bone and you want to slice down the center, then slip your knife down the side of the breast bone, slicing as close to the bone as possible on each side.

4. You’ll have 2 nice pieces just like this that can be sliced into about 6-7 pieces each.

There are a few other nooks and crannies where you’ll find meat, so simply turn it over and inspect around where the wings were. You’ll find some pockets there, as well as around where the legs were.

Pin for later!I hope you and your guests love this duck as much as I do! And for more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

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5 from 1 vote

Roasted Duck with Blackberry & Balsamic Reduction Sauce

This crispy roasted duck with blackberry & balsamic reduction sauce is such an easy (and fancy) roasted duck recipe!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Resting Time15 mins
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: International
Keyword: roasted duck
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 663kcal

Equipment

  • somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet
  • cutting board and large, sharp knife
  • basting brush
  • bakers string
  • Small bowl
  • sauce pan
  • potato masher
  • small mesh strainer (if you want to remove blackberry seeds)

Ingredients

For the Duck

  • 5 pound peking duck - thawed
  • 2

    tbsp. kosher salt
  • ½

    tsp. smoked Spanish Paprika
  • ½

    orange - sliced in half
  • 8 garlic cloves - sliced in half
  • rosemary - a few sprigs
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice

For the Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • ¼ 

    cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Blackberry Balsamic Reduction Sauce

  • In a sauce pan, add 6 oz. blackberries, ¼ cup orange juice, 2 tbsp. of sugar and 2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. Use a potato masher to break apart the berries, and give it a little stir. Turn heat to low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until nicely reduced.
  • You don’t have to remove the seeds, but if you want a perfectly smooth, seedless sauce, simply push it through a small mesh strainer. Place it in a container and refrigerate until your duck is ready to serve.

Roasted Duck

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. (176 C.). Remove your duck from its packaging and remove the neck and giblets that are tucked inside the cavity. Either discard or use in another recipe.
  • Use a sharp knife to score the duck fat, making a criss-cross pattern across the breast. You don’t want to cut into the meat, just the fat, which will be about half an inch to an inch thick. You’ll also want to slice and poke the fatty flapping skin around the cavity to allow for better fat draining.
  • Mix 3 tbsp. kosher salt and ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika in a bowl, then give the entire duck a luxurious massage with it. Make sure to cover the every inch, including the underside and inside the cavity.
  • Inside the cavity, stuff half an orange (sliced in 2 wedges), a few sprigs of rosemary and 6-8 garlic cloves also sliced in half. You don’t need to remove the skins, as these aromatics will be discarded with the bones.
  • Tuck the flapping skin in a bit to hold everything in, and tie the legs together with bakers string.
  • Place the duck breast-side up on your baking pan. Place duck on the lowest rack and set a timer for 1 hour.
  • After an hour, remove the pan and carefully flip the duck over. Place back in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the duck and flip it back to breast-side up. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 tbsp. orange juice. brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven and re-brush after 20 minutes.
  • Remove the duck and, in the same small bowl, add 1 tbsp. of honey, and 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Brush the duck all over with the mixture. Place duck back in the oven and re-brush after 20 minutes.
  • Remove your duck. Make sure it’s completely done by using a meat thermometer in the breast and thigh. It should read at least 165 F. (73 C.) degrees. Allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it. 

Notes

1. Make sure your duck is thawed and cooked within 3-4 days of thawing.
If you buy your duck frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator for 3 days before roasting. Duck often comes in a vacuum-sealed package and I’ve read that it will be fine to cook for up to 14 days if kept in that package. This was not the case for me. I ordered a duck that was completely frozen, then thawed, and I waited about 6 days to make it. It was already beginning to spoil when I opened it, so I’d err on the safe side and not thaw until 3-4 days before you intend to roast and serve it.
2. Do not wash your duck.
Never wash poultry. It doesn’t clean it, it doesn’t remove any bacteria, but what it WILL do is spread that bacteria all over your sink and countertops. Roasting it will kill off any salmonella bacteria as long as it’s thoroughly cooked (a meat thermometer reading 165 F. (73 C.) or higher). 
3. Use a roasting pan that's deep enough to hold 16-24 oz. of fat.
You want to use a somewhat deep roasting pan with a grate or slatted baking sheet that will lift the duck away from its dripping fat. 
4. Save the fat for other recipes or throw it away.
Pour the fat into a container and place it in the refrigerator. If you want to properly discard it, wait about 5 hours for it to harden and then scoop it into the garbage. You can also save duck fat to use instead of butter in so many recipes! 

Nutrition

Serving: 275grams | Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 19IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 14mg

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