Prime rib, Frenched lamb racks and crab legs...Tis the season to indulge in fancier-than-normal fare. People tend to place duck in this category, but as I prepared this one-skillet dinner a few nights ago, I wondered why. Sure, duck is decadently rich and flavorful, but it’s also as easy as a roast chicken. In other words, “fancy” doesn’t have to be complicated.
The best part of this recipe might be the potatoes. As the duck roasts over a charcoal fire, the fat renders and bastes the rounds of Yukon golds, making them crisp and incredibly flavorful. To balance the richness, I like to serve the duck and potatoes over a big salad of frisee (or another bitter green) tossed in a mustardy vinaigrette.
Grill-Roasted Duck and Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
- One 4 ½- to 5-pound duck, thawed if frozen
- 3 tablespoons Super Bird, The Usual, or Fish Monger
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 small orange, quartered
- 4 to 6 fresh bay leaves
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into ½-inch rounds
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- Two 4-inch rosemary or thyme sprigs (optional)
- Frisee (or your favorite greens), for serving
To prepare the duck, remove any organ meats from the carcass (reserve the neck for stock), rinse it under cold water, pat dry with paper towels, and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Season the inside and outside of the duck with Super Bird (or another F&S blend), using your hands to evenly distribute the spices. Insert the onion and orange quarters (enough to fit comfortably), and bay leaves inside the cavity.
Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. When the coals are glowing and covered with a fine gray ash, add your smoke source (a couple wood chucks or a log adjacent to the fire). Carefully wipe the preheated grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again.
Place the potatoes in a 12-inch skillet, drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. Tuck a couple more bay leaves and/or rosemary or thyme sprigs into the potatoes, if desired.
Place the duck on top of the potatoes. When the fire is producing a steady stream of smoke, place the skillet over indirect heat, close the grill, vent the grill for smoking and roast for about 1 ½ hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads between 160ºF and 170ºF, and the breast reads between 145ºF and 150ºF, and the potatoes are cooked through. Add additional coals or wood as needed to maintain a steady temperature of around 350ºF.
Remove from heat and allow the duck to rest for at least 20 minutes. To serve, slice the duck into portions as desired and serve it alongside the warm, crispy potatoes and your favorite salad.
Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe.
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