Demo Kitchen Recipes: Czech Roast Duck

The Binny’s Demo Kitchen has been reveling in a bohemian lifestyle of late. We are always hanging out in seedy jazz clubs, toting around dogeared copies of Algren and Kerouac novels, snapping our fingers at poetry readings, smoking left-handed cigarettes and having earnest late night rap sessions about life, but that isn’t what we are talking about. We have been on a tear, lately, drinking Czech-style dark lager and eating roast duck. While Eastern European style roast duck is still available at Czeck, Polish and German restaurants, there are many fewer of those places around these days. So, here is an easy recipe to go along with what appears to be a very welcome Czech Dark Lager revival in the craft beer world. This is also fantastic with riesling or pinot noir. Serve with braised red cabbage and spaetzle, bread dumplings or potatoes roasted in the rendered duck fat (Should you? Yes, yes you should!)

Cheers!

Serves 2-4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (5-lb) Pekin (Long Island) duck
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt + more
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. A day or two before roasting: If there is a giblet bag, remove from cavity and rinse duck inside and out with cold water. Pat dry. Cut the wing tips off the duck and remove excess fat and skin around the neck and cavity. 
  2. Using your hands, get under the skin and separate it from the meat as best you can, without tearing it, all around the breasts, thighs and legs. With your hands again, season the cavity and the meat, under the skin, by rubbing it with 1 tbsp kosher salt.
  3. Place on a plate or on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up, and refrigerate, uncovered, at least overnight to allow the skin to dry out.
  4. On the day of your meal: Remove duck from refrigerator and let sit at room temp for 1-2 hours before roasting.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Pierce the duck skin and fat layer all over with a sharp fork or the tip of a paring knife, but do not pierce the meat.
  6. Rub the cavity with some black pepper and the chopped garlic. Sprinkle the skin with a little more salt the remaining pepper and caraway seeds. Place the duck breast-side down on a rack in a roasting pan with a lid. Pour 1 cup of water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
  7. Cover and roast for 1 hour.
  8. Turn the duck breast-side up and roast, uncovered, for another hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 150° F (for pink flesh), 165°F, if you prefer well-done. The skin should have rendered the fat and be thin, crispy and dark golden-brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and let the duck rest 15 minutes before carving.