Smoky, sweet, and just a bit spicy, this roast duck is a great celebratory dish for the holidays. What I love most about it is the crisp mahogany skin, which takes really well to the star anise and coriander seed I use in the glaze.
Prep and roast duck: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Turn the duck breast side up and use a sharp knife to clip the wing tips; set them aside, along with the neck, for later. Season the inside with salt and pepper and add one star anise. Turn the duck over. Place kitchen twine under the tail of the bird, then tie the drumsticks together. Swing the twine around the edge of the drumsticks and flip over. Take the skin and lay it flat over the backbone, and tie it snugly like you would tie your shoes. Trim the loose ends and lay the duck on a roasting rack, breast-side up. (Optional: Store in refrigerator overnight to dry, which will ensure crisper skin when roasting.) Drizzle 1 teaspoon of oil over the bird and rub it into the skin evenly. Generously season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, pour out the rendered duck fat (reserving it for later use) and return duck to the oven for another 20 minutes.
Glaze: Pat neck and wing-tips dry; cut into 2-inch pieces. Add 1 teaspoon oil to a medium sauté pan and heat until smoking. Season duck pieces with salt and pepper and place in the hot pan. After a few minutes, when the sound of the sizzle gets louder, turn heat down to medium and flip duck pieces. Continue to cook over medium heat while preparing the vegetables.
Dice onion and garlic; remove stems, seeds, and inner membranes from peppers and dice. Add to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook 5 minutes. Add three pods of star anise, coriander, sherry vinegar, honey, rosemary, and thyme. Slice pasilla pepper and add to the pan. Continue cooking until vinegar has almost evaporated. Add orange juice, bring to a simmer, and reduce until liquid is almost dry, 5-10 minutes. Add 2 more cups of orange juice and continue to reduce, about 10 more minutes. When the glaze has reduced to 1–1½ cups, pass through a strainer and use the back of a spoon to push out all of the liquid from the solids; remove and discard the duck pieces. Set the glaze aside.Blend the remaining solids as a condiment to serve with with the duck.
Roast and baste duck: After an hour of cooking, remove the duck from the oven, drain the fat (reserving for later use if you wish), and place in a roasting pan. Cut away the kitchen twine and discard. Spoon half of the glaze evenly over the bird and return to oven, 5–10 minutes. Baste with remaining glaze and roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, 5 more minutes. Baste with hot pan juices.
Carve the duck: Using a sharp chef's knife, begin by cutting off the legs, then remove both breasts whole. Slice the breast meat against the grain on a cutting board, then arrange the duck on a serving platter. Finish with a drizzle of the glaze and serve with remaining glaze and blended glaze solids.
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