Serves: 4


Preheat oven to 450°



5 pound duck, plucked and cleaned, with giblets

1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped

1 Winesap apple, peeled and thinly sliced

12 small (no more than 2″ in length or height) baking potatoes, washed
Cook’s Note: Do not use red boiling potatoes

1 pound pearl onions, peeled

4 cups whole, fresh cranberries, washed and sorted

1/2 cup apple cider reduction 

1 tablespoon chopped, flat Italian parsley



Loosen the skin over the breast of the duck from neck to tail area to form a large pocket. 

Spread a layer of apple slices over the breast in the pocket. 

Divide sliced onion, carrot and remaining apple slices between duck cavities. 

Truss the legs and wings securely to the duck body. 

Place trussed duck on a rack in a roasting pan, back side up. 

Place duck in oven for 15 minutes. 

Remove duck from oven. 

Turn duck over (breast side up) and return to oven for 15 minutes. 

Reduce heat to 385° F. 

Remove duck from oven.

Remove duck from rack. 

Place pearl onions in bottom of roasting pan, under rack. 

Return duck to rack with back side up.

Pierce each potato 2-3 times and scatter around duck on top of rack. 

Return duck and vegetables to oven for 15 minutes.

Continue to rotate the duck every 15 minutes until the skin is crisp and the interior temerpature of the duck (as taken at the interior of the thigh, not touching the bone or thickest part of the breast) is a minimum of 165° F. for rare duck, up to 185°F. for meat that is well done, as per your preference. 

When turning, check to be certain that the fat accumulating under the rack is not touching the duck.  If it does, remove some of the fat and reserve in a bowl.  Chill the bowl of fat.


Cook’s Note: Duck fat is a healthier fat and excellent means of frying foods. 


Combine cranberries and cider reduction in saucepan. 

Cover and cook over medium heat for a few minutes. 

Cranberries will pop. 

Stir occasionally. 

Do not allow sauce to go dry. 

Sauce is ready when cranberries are softened. 

Taste and adjust sweetness as desired with additional cider reduction. 

Reserve and chill. 


Cook’s Note: When the duck has reached the desired temperature, check potatoes and onions to be certain they are cooked.  If not, tent duck on a platter and return potatoes/onions to oven until they are cooked. 


When duck is done, carefully place on a platter and tent. 

Duck can be returned to the oven that has been turned off, with door left ajar.  To do so requires the use of an oven-proof platter. 

Remove fat from drippings in the bottom of the pan.  Reserve and chill fat.


To plate:

Heat cranberry sauce. 

Remove duck from tent and discard trussing string. 

Leave apple slices in breast pocket. Remove onion, apple slices and carrots from duck cavities. Discard.  

Place duck on serving platter. 

Arrange potatoes and pearl onions around duck. 

Garnish potatoes and pearl onions with parsley. 

Garnish duck with heated cranberry sauce and/or serve sauce on the side.