A wonderful Whole Roasted Duck is an amazingly tasty centerpiece of any special occasion or holiday meal! The deliciously spiced duck that my family and I enjoy is also terrifically easy to make too! This roast duck features crispy skin on a perfectly tender, juicy duck that will be enjoyed by everyone!
If using a frozen duck, be sure to thaw your duck for 2-3 days in the refrigerator before preparing. Once your duck is completely thawed, remove the giblets and neck as well as any packaged orange sauce that may be in the body cavity. Rinse with cold water then pat completely dry with paper towels. Set the duck out for 30 minutes to warm to room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C) while the duck is setting out.
Use a sharp knife or the tines of a fork to pierce the duck skin in small slits or crosses (in a diamond pattern). *Do this carefully, as you don't want to pierce the duck meat! Lift the skin away to help avoid peircing the meat.For a great even cook on your duck, there are two things to note. 1) It is best not to stuff the body cavity with onion or citrus for flavor. This reduces the air flow and adds cooking time. 2) If you're not worried about the presentation or tying the legs crossed, you can make slits into the leg joints between the body and the thigh to ensure that the duck cooks quickly and evenly.
Grind your fennel seeds if needed, then blend all of the seasoning mix ingredients: salt, pepper, cinnamon, fennel. Rub onto all surfaces of the duck skin.
Place the duck with the breast side facing upward into a roasting pan with a rack. Roast in the preheated oven at 425 degrees F (218 degrees C) for 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue to roast the duck for an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the duck still has running juices that are pink, let it continue to roast for 15 minutes more.
Once your duck has an internal temperature of 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) remove the roasted duck from your oven and loosely 'tent' a square of aluminum foil over the duck. Allow the duck to rest for 20 minutes before carving and serving.
Note that a 5-6 pound duck typically feeds 3-4 adults. If you are feeding a crowd, it is suggested to roast more than one whole duck.For the fennel seeds, you want a finely ground consistency. Use a mortar & pestle or coffee grinder for best results. Other options include food processor, Nutribullet, even a blender - it will just take longer as the seeds have more room to move away from the blades.