We had a lovely, quiet Christmas; a relaxing and joyful day. The big feast was reserved for dinner, when we made roast duck with homemade gravy and roasted veggies on the side, paired with beer from the local Storm brewery. Props to Storm for knocking it out of the park with their Christmas brainstorm brews; “Mrs. Claus” was a citrusy beverage that tasted like Kombucha and went down lightly, despite a high alcohol content.
Roasting duck is simple, but it does require patience. Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Remove the giblets, liver and neck that’s usually in the duck cavity, then cut a slit in the skin on the breast side and stuff pats of butter underneath. Rub salt, pepper and olive oil all over the outside of the duck, and place sprigs of rosemary on top (or rub in dried rosemary). Place breast side up in a roasting pan that has a grill on top and a tray on the bottom to capture the juices that will drip from the duck. Cook until the internal temperature of the duck is 180 deg. F. It takes 30 min. to cook each pound of duck, so it will take about 2.5 hr. for a 5-lb. duck.
Place chopped carrots, celery and potatoes on a baking pan and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. About an hour before the duck will be ready, take out the duck and pour some of the juices that have dripped into the bottom tray onto the veggies. Cook the veggies in the oven for about an hour.
You can make the gravy when the duck and veggies are done cooking. Pour some of the duck fat into a skillet, add desired amount of chicken broth, desired amount of milk or cream (optional), about a tablespoon of flour to thicken, and salt to taste.
The best part of this meal: the duck skin–crispy, fatty, delicious goodness.