Roast Duck with Cabernet-Cherry Sauce


This technique for preparing duck eliminates much of the fat that resides under the skin. If you like duck precisely because it's so rich and fatty, you can skip the 24-hour air drying. The sauce is delicious and would also complement roast pork, venison, or goose.


1 Long Island duck (4-1/2 to 5 pounds)
  kosher or sea salt
1 cup cabernet sauvignon
1/2 cup good-quality beef stock
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Sugar
6 green cardamom pods (lightly crushed)
1 cinnamon stick about 3 inches long (broken)
6 whole cloves
20 whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon cherry jam or currant jelly
  grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons port (optional)
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot


Wash the duck in cold water and discard any loose fat or skin. (Duck fat is delicious when used to sauté potatoes, for example, so you might want to save it.) Place the duck in a roasting pan.

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and pour the water over the duck, making sure that the water bathes both the top and underside of the duck. Drain completely.

Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. Liberally sprinkle all sides of the duck with salt. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours.

The next day, position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the duck under cold water to remove the salt. With a small, sharp knife or fork, carefully prick the fatty sections of the duck's skin, taking care to pierce only the fatty layer, not the flesh underneath.

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and pour over the duck, bathing both the top and undersides. Drain completely.

Set the duck on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side up, and cook 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and roast until a leg moves easily in its socket and the juices from the cavity run almost clear, 40 to 60 minutes. An instant-read thermometer should register 180 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

Let the duck rest, loosely covered with foil, at least 15 minutes before carving.

To make the sauce, combine the wine, stock, and cherries in a small pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices in a small pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture turns syrupy and begins to caramelize, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice and jam, and cook until the mixture bubbles, about 1 minute. Strain the contents of the small pan into the wine and cherry mixture, discarding any solids.

Add the orange zest and bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water in a small jar and shake until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve over slices of duck.


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