Cajun Roast Duck with Rich Brown Gravy

By • October 7, 2011 25 Comments

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Author Notes: I have stuff say about this recipe, and none of it really has to do with your success in making it, so feel free to scroll and ignore. If you choose to read, may as well fill your wine glass and sit awhile ...

First off, when I saw roast week I immediatly went mental and was thinking Crown Roast of Yak! Entire Wild Boar! Pterodactyl! Then the voice (you know the one) suggested that perhaps since we love duck and we cook a lot of duck, it was maybe a better choice. So duck it is.

I roast whole ducks for all day duck gumbo. But I roast them without finesse because I am going to rip the poor thing limb from limb and hack it to bits before it ever sees anyone's plate. So - had to adjust my approach a bit and - let's be honest here - rip off Merrill's technique. I also had to change up the flavors a bit and in addition think gravy. As I am sure you know, gravy makes just about everything better. Maybe not macaroons.

Now my thoughts on duck fat. It is magic. Do not waste it ever. Use it as often as possible. That said, I have a couple tubs of drippings from roasted ducks in the freezer so if you have any thoughts on applying them to another dish, please speak up.

Cajun cooking is rich, deep, full of flavor. It is not necessarily rip-your-lips-off spicy. This duck is just that - seasoned and rich with a hint of heat. Gravy too. I have you make double the spice mix you need, in case you are making cornbread dressing on a non-duck day. You'll need it for that, or something. It's good stuff.

OK I think that's it. On to the cooking ....

Makes 1 duck

Roast Duck

  • 1 duck (about 5 lb)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 head garlic
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  1. Rinse the duck and pat him dry. Mix the next 5 ingredients. Sprinkle half of the mixture all over the duck, inside and out. Save the other half for ... something. Put the duck uncovered in the fridge to rest for a couple hours.
  2. Heat the oven to 250. (This next part is where I rip Merrill off) poke the duck all over with a meat fork - go at it sideways so you poke the skin not the meat. Put the garlic and bay leaf inside, and tuck the wings behind, well not his head because he hasn't got one, so just the rest of him. Put him in a roasting dish breast down and into the oven. Now, I keep horsing my temp up and down 250-275 because my oven runs cold. Anyhow, after 30-40 minutes, take him out and re-poke him all over (gently). Do this every 30 minutes for the next couple hours. When the drippings start getting deep, siphon them out and SAVE THEM. Leave a little in the pan.
  3. After 2 hours, flip the duck. Let him roast at 250 for another half hour, also pour the wine and the sherry into the body. Now turn the oven up to 350. Roast him until he is a deep rich brown. This will will be 35-45 minutes. About halfway through you can baste and pull some more of the drippings off to the side.
  4. When he is perfect and brown, take him out, and let him rest about 10 minutes. Take his picture.


  • flour - I toast more than I need but the recipe is for 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup fat from duck drippings
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup low salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup the not fat part of the drippings.
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (or prosecco if that is what you happen to be drinking)
  • 1/4 cup minced green onion
  • salt and pepper
  1. Toast your flour - spread it in a baking dish and stick it in the oven with the duck. Stir it whenever you are poking that poor duck. In the end you should have a chestnut brown flour and it should smell nutty and wonderful. You may actually want to start it before the duck to be sure it gets done enough.
  2. Put 1/2 cup of the fat from the drippings in a saucepan and whisk in 1/3 cup toasted flour. It's going to turn deep dark brown. Whisk in the milk, then the broth and drippings, then the sherry and wine. Taste and add salt and pepper. You could also add a pinch of the leftover seasoning from the duck if you want to.
  3. Stir in the minced green onion right before serving.

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