Cajun Roast Duck with Rich Brown Gravy

October  7, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Makes 1 duck
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 .... —aargersi

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • Gravy
  • 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. Roast Duck
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. When he is perfect and brown, take him out, and let him rest about 10 minutes. Take his picture.
  1. Gravy
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the minced green onion right before serving.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • paizley
  • Jantastica
  • dymnyno
  • aargersi
  • Midge

Recipe by: aargersi

Country living, garden to table cooking, recent beek, rescue all of the dogs, #adoptdontshop

28 Reviews

paizley November 4, 2022
Love roasting ducks, especially when I can find them with their heads and feet attached. Makes a great presentation which some people don't particularly like at first glance. Once they start eating, that first impression is replaced by the wonderful flavor of roast duckling. I like to do a spicy brine first, and let the birds' skins dry somewhat before roasting, making sure they're stuffed with lots of aromatics. Cornbread-rice stuffing is my favorite accompaniment with lots of gravy along with some type of greens. I better go buy a couple ASAP before they sell out before Thanksgiving. Ducks are certainly my favorite fowl to roast! To the holidays and adventures in the kitchen! (Clinks glasses) :)
Ashley November 10, 2017
Can the milk be omitted?
aargersi November 11, 2017
You could use broth, it will be a different kind of gravy but still good!
Ashley November 11, 2017
Jantastica April 21, 2015
I've made this duck several times and it's a-mazing! Also, I add 3/4tsp of cayenne pepper to add a little kick!
Jantastica June 21, 2014
I've been this recipe several times over, it's amazing! If you like a little extra kick, add some cayenne pepper (to taste), it will send your guests over the top!
aargersi June 22, 2014
Oh I am so glad to hear that! It's been awhile - sounds like I need to make one again too!
dymnyno February 19, 2012 I go. Today I am making this recipe. The unthawed duck is sitting on the counter , and there is not turning back.
aargersi March 14, 2012
Hey Mary I just saw this - how did it come out?
aargersi March 14, 2012
Hey Mary I just saw this - how did it come out?
whyo4 January 22, 2012
I love roasted duck and roasted goose! Grew up on these for all holidays and special occasions. Grew up on a very large farm and we raised our own. I dont even like turkey. Made a roasted goose with saurkrut stuffing for christmas this year for a gathering of friends. All want the receipe but I cant give it to them as there really isnt one. I agree, the frequent piercing of the skin to drain the grease is VERY important. I also put the bird on a wire rack while it is roasting as this keeps it out of the grease.
aargersi October 14, 2011
I just realized I forgot to say the pan for the gravy should be over medium heat ...
Midge October 10, 2011
This looks fabulous!
melissav October 9, 2011
What a beautiful duck!
boulangere October 8, 2011
OMG, just saw this. A beautiful way with duck. And gravy. That leftover duck fat? French fries!
Kukla October 8, 2011
A great and simple recipe aargersi. When I hear anything Cajun, I know it must be special. Unfortunately I have never been to Louisiana, although my former sister in law leave’s in New Orleans and she invited us many times.
aargersi October 8, 2011
Ok seriously. Go. You need to. It is a different place / cuisine / vibe than the rest of the country. It is a happy place.
inpatskitchen October 8, 2011
Yum..Yum..Yum!! Love duck, especially slow roasted...this looks incredible!!
hardlikearmour October 8, 2011
You never disappoint, aargersi! This looks incredible, and I just knew you were gonna roast a duck!
hardlikearmour October 8, 2011
PS. I love your tag!
aargersi October 8, 2011
I think the cat may be out of the bag as far as my duck love! Ha ha!!!
dymnyno October 8, 2011
As usual, a creative and funny headnote, followed by a genuine great recipe that I am going to make asap. Duck is one of my favorite fowls and not the daffy sort!
aargersi October 8, 2011
I hope you like it Mary! Tell me what wine you drink with it!!!
SKK October 8, 2011
And because of you I will be roasting my first duck, aargersi. And never even thought of toasting flour - wow on so many levels!
aargersi October 8, 2011
You will be hooked - trust me! Let us know how it comes out!!!
mrslarkin October 7, 2011
Yuummmmmm! Look at all that crispy skin. ok, no kidding, when I saw this contest theme, my first thought was "aargersi should do a DUCK!" My mental telepathy must be working.
aargersi October 8, 2011
It clearly is - love me some duck! :-) Are you roasting this weekend?
mrslarkin October 8, 2011
nope. but i will be baking. :)