Roast Long Island Duckling with Merlot-Chocolate Sauce and Roasted Beets with Garlic and Thyme

Chef David Page, co-owner of Shinn Estate Vineyards, chef-owner of Home Restaurant in New York City, and creator of this recipe, simmers a whole duckling in water to render some of the fat before roasting it. He says that pricking the skin after 20 minutes of roasting keeps it tender and flavorful, while allowing excess fat to be rendered slowly.


What’s more natural with Long Island duck than food-friendly L.I. Merlot? Recommended producers include Bedell, Shinn Estate and Pellegrini.

  • For the roast duck
  • 1 cup red wine, preferably Merlot
  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) Long Island (Pekin) duckling, fat at cavities trimmed
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • Rind of 1 orange
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cheesecloth and twine for the herb sachet
  • For the roast beets
  • 6 medium beets, trimmed, cut in half or quartered
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Merlot-chocolate sauce
  • ½ cup red wine, preferably Merlot
  • 2 ½ cups duck stock, veal stock, or dark chicken stock
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Grated zest and juice of ½ orange
  • 1 tablespoon grated bitter unsweetened chocolate
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the duck: Simmer the red wine in a saucepan over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, until reduced in volume by two-thirds. Cool and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer over high heat. Submerge the whole duck in the water and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Pat the duck dry. Set the duck, breast skin-side up, on a wire rack in a roasting pan.

Place the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and orange rind on a square of cheesecloth, bring the corners up to form a bundle, and tie the sachet off with the twine. Season the inside and outside of the duck with salt and pepper. Insert the sachet into the cavity of the duck. Roast for 20 minutes, periodically spooning any rendered fat out of the pan. Reserve fat for another use.

While the duck is roasting, prepare the beets: Place the beets, garlic, thyme, and olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the duck.
At this point, prick the skin in the fatty parts of the duck, just below the breast and under the thigh. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. and continue to roast the duck and beets for another 1½ hours, periodically spooning the rendered fat out of the pan.

After 1½ hours, with a pastry brush, brush the entire duck with the reduced red wine.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. and roast the duck for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bird is glazed. Remove the duck and beets from the oven and let the duck rest for 15 minutes before removing the sachet. Transfer the duck to a carving board, carve, and arrange the pieces on a serving platter along with the beets.

To prepare the sauce: Heat the wine in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 7 minutes, or until reduced in volume by two-thirds. Add the stock, thyme, and orange zest and juice and reduce again by two-thirds. Just before serving, remove the pan from the heat, add the grated chocolate, one teaspoon at a time, whisking until it is incorporated. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a sauceboat and serve alongside the duck.

Published on December 17, 2009