Roasted Duckling or "The Demise of Daffy"

As the Story begins, Elmer Fudd is seen sitting despondent over a pile of Black feathers…….the door breaks down, in comes Brenda Lee Johnson and the major crimes division….
What they find seems so cut and dry, Elmer, a pile of feathers, a scatter of bones, and a shot gun in the corner.   All the evidence points at fowl play, and Elmer seems to be the only player…….But just as Detective Provenza is about to make the arrest, he finds the one missing piece to the puzzle, that last bit of evidence, one that clears poor Elmer of any wrong doing.   On the counter top, next to an empty bottle of mad dog, sat a lone Duck Stamp…….and the sad realization at that very moment was that there was absolutely nothing he or anyone could do…….sigh…….for unfortunately it was “duck season”.

I always loved Bugs Bunny, and that crazy Daffy Duck….but Elmer Fudd, there were some serious issues going on there, and I was always waiting for him to snap.  Bugs and Daffy were unmerciful.   I would watch those cartoons endlessly as a child, and on through high school, and I knew most of them by heart.  I even learned to love classical music because of Bugs Bunny.  (although my favorite character will always be Foghorn Leghorn….ah say, luckily I keep my feathers numbered for just such an occasion, words I have lived by)

My first experience with duck came so very many years ago, as was our routine before a lesson Mama Jeanette and I would walk through the market while she decided what we would cook that evening.  One day as we walked through market to where most of the meat vendors were, we were greeted by an abundance of ducks hanging from every stall.  Mama Jeanette turned to me and said ” Sonny boy it must be duck season”  and to this day I don’t know why, but I quickly answered in my daffy duck voice that it was “wabbit season.”   I didn’t get to hear Mama Jeanette laugh very often, but on this occasion she laughed till she cried, as it turned out she loved that wascally wabbitt too.   I wish I could have seen her that happy all the time.
Needless to say we purchased two ducks that day, along with the rest of our bounty for the nights meal, and that my friends is how I learned to cook duck, the rest of the story is for another day.

Before I get to the recipe, I would like to mention that the reason I have these wonderful ducks to post about.  As I was mindlessly looking at my twitter account, I noticed that Maple Leaf Farms was following me…..I remembered them from my restaurant days….. Maple Leaf Farms had the best duck on the market, and I always looked for them, no matter what restaurant I worked at.  Imagine my surprise when I saw they were following me on twitter ( I still really have no idea what twitter is, I’m just glad I’m finally pronouncing it correctly it was embarrassing….sigh).  I quickly tweeted (I can’t say that with a straight face) Maple Leaf Farms and remarked how I loved their products!!   I almost as quickly received a very nice response from Beth, asking what part of the country I was located in and she would find me a distributor.   I answered back that as much as I would love to serve duck at school, I didn’t think it would fit into my budgets.   That’s when she so kindly offered to send me something from there online store.   How nice was that, not even asking for anything from me in return.  Of course you know I can’t just take them and not blog about them, while I don’t receive any compensation for blogging about the product, I feel its just the right thing to do when someone is nice enough to send you something.    But I digress…sigh….lets get back to those wonderful ducks and that the fine people from Maple Leaf Farms so nicely sent me!   I received two types of ducks from Maple Leaf, one was a antibiotic free duck and that was my choice for this recipe, and the other was a whole duck with Orange sauce.  Both came via Fed Ex and frozen solid.  Great job on the shipping!

So my friends lets get on with the secret to cooking a duck properly.
It’s not exactly rocket science, but the secret of to a great duck is in the roasting.

Roasted Duckling
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Thoroughly rinse your duck inside and out, drain all the water from the inside and pat dry the duck with paper towels.
Place the duck in a roasting pan, that has a grate for the duck to sit on.
Rub the inside of the duck with brown sugar, and then rub the outside of the duck breast with brown sugar.
Place fresh Rosemary sprigs in the duck cavity.   Sprinkle Rosemary on top of the duck.
Place your duck in the preheated oven and roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Remove the duck from the oven and carefully lift it out of the pan, and allow all of the grease to drain from the duck.
Allow duck to rest for about 20 minutes.
Now cut the duck into two halves.  Follow the breast line down the middle and cut along the bottom of the duck along side of the bone.   Now remove the center bone by cutting it away from the other half.
With a pairing knife, follow along the inside of the rib bones and separate it from the duck.  Follow this all along the inside of the duck until you have removed all of the breast bones.
Now you have a semi de-boned duck half.

I like to serve my ducks over rice, your choice of what type.  I used a basmati blend with lentils, it was delicious!!
Start your rice when the duck comes out of the oven.

I like to serve my ducks with a fruit sauce, and the best sauce is made with anisette.  I have never been a fan of anisette but in this sauce it is exceptional!! Because the duck meat is so flavorful , fruit sauces are perfect accent to the flavors.

Anisette Sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter
2 ounces anisette
1/2 cup berries of your choice
very small dash of salt

In a saute pan melt 1 tbsp of  butter and add brown sugar, mix well
Add berries of your choice and coat with butter sugar mixture
Add anisette and burn off alcohol
Add the other tablespoon of butter to thicken the sauce
Add the salt and remove from the heat

Set your oven to broil, place duck halves on a cookie sheet  and place under broiler until ducks have a beautiful golden brown color. (do not let them char)
Serve your duck half on a bed of rice and top with the anisette sauce.

This will amaze you, duck is oh so flavorful and although the meat has a higher content of fat, it is well worth it for special occasions!
Have a great rest of the week, stay warm , keep your belly’s full and stop back again soon!!


  1. Emme @Food Samba says:

    Note to self: never visit ur blog when hungry! Lol…looks amazing, Chef.

  2. wow.. i like the heading..looks wonderful…

  3. Dionne Baldwin says:

    I LOVE DUCK. I absolutely do. I know I gush about everything you make but I really mean it especially about duck. It's so rich, moist and desirable I cannot resist it. I've never cooked duck myself but I should since I love it so much.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with for wabbit season!

  4. BigFatBaker says:

    Wow this sounds unbelieveable. I have only had duck once, but I loved it the first time. Hopefully one day I can work up enough courage to make something as beautiful as this.

  5. Island Vittles says:

    I'm going to go follow a couple of venison farms on twitter…do you think they'd send me a sample too? lol

    Your duck looks delicious Chef D!


  6. Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) says:

    What an absolute beautiful duck! I've wanted to try duck ever since I started cooking, but I'm afraid I would ruin such an expensive, beautiful piece of meat! Ah well, maybe eventually. Thanks for sharing this, Chef!

  7. That duck looks divine!! I too was (am?) a fan of Daffy and Bugs!!!
    Maple Leaf Farms does have the best duck and I agree with you, fruit based sauces are the best!

  8. What a wonderful treat to be get duck! I love it! Of course, you did the birds justice by preparing them so beautifully. What else is new? 🙂

    P.S. I raise my hand to being a fellow Looney Tunes fan.

  9. Chow and Chatter says:

    wow what an amazing dish love duck and look forward to tweeting with you Chef Dennis 🙂

  10. I don't know why but I've never tried duck. Too much of a chicken? (oh come on, I had to go there!)

    It looks like roast chicken and it looks delicious but I wonder if my picky palate would actually enjoy it. Hmmm.

    Thanks for the wonderful story leading into it. I remember the Bugs and Daffy wars as a kid and now have the whole "Duck season!" "Wabbit season!" stuck in my head. Ahh, memories.

  11. Nice to learn up Western version of roast duck. Thanks for sharing.

  12. love duck,your looks magnificent!

  13. Foodtographer says:

    Ahh! Duck!…I miss duck…been a long time…thanks for making me drool, Chef ;-} BTW…this is a recipe I can live with…now to find whole duck n Vegas other than the cooked version in Chinatown…nothing wrong with that either..

  14. scrambledhenfruit says:

    Looney Toons are the bomb! My youngest (who's in college) is a connoisseur of cartoons. You gave me a laugh with your title. The duck looks absolutely fabulous- much better than he did in the cartoons. 🙂

  15. thecompletecookbook says:

    Not sure why but I have never cooked duck before and have only eaten it on the odd occasion – time to change all that. Thanks for the inspiration Chef.
    🙂 Mandy

  16. I can't say that I like duck that much, but I hear it's excellent when it's made well. Chef Dennis, will you make me some of this duck? Because it looks amazing!

    I am also a big fan of these toons, totally grew up with them too! They are classic. When i got a bit older though, looney toons and animaniacs came out so I started watching those. Still a huge huge huge fan of the classics though.

  17. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says:

    I giggled when I saw the title of your post and when I read the part about going to the market. Too funny! It's been a long time since I've had duck. I think the last time I had duck was when I was 5 years old! The duck you made looks absolutely lovely. Just gorgrous photos! 🙂

  18. ladymorgiana says:

    I love Lonely Toons! Wow this post is amazing and the duckling looks delicious! Thank you for sharing, as we have a duckiling in mind for Christmas lunch 🙂

  19. jose manuel says:

    Que aspecto tan increible tiene, esto se ve realmente fantastico.


  20. Luna's Recipes says:

    The duck looks absolutely devine! Thank you very much for sharing. All the best, Luna

  21. Thank you for the introduction to anisette in the sauce – I need to go forth and acquire.

  22. I've never roasted a duck, but it's one of my missions before the end of the year. Duck and goose shall be roasted! I love the fruit sauce, too – I bet that goes a treat with it!

    Jax x

  23. penny aka jeroxie says:

    I love quack quack… especially when it is roasted!

  24. the constant hunger says:

    You're a fan of The Closer, too! That's great. Now about duck. I've always preferred it to chicken for obvious reasons. Tons of flavor, right? But for some reason I have never made it at home. You've inspired me. Thanks!

  25. I was a fan of Bugs Bunny as well as Daffy Duck. Thanks for the memories.
    I have only eaten duck several times, but I would yo have some of yours, soon:)

  26. I too spent hours watching Buggs and Daffy… I still find myself drawn to them if I happen to catch it on the cartoon network or something like that! Still one of my favorite cartoons!
    I love duck…I really do. The first time I had it was at a Chinese restaurant when I was about 11…IT was so wonderful!!!

  27. What serendipity for you! I have never had duck. Ever. I see them every year in the grocery store, I cannot resist looking at them and geese, too. The price drives me on to turkey and ham, however.

  28. From the Kitchen says:

    My first duck was shortly after I was married. The duck looked pretty big at the market. I figured it would nicely serve the three other couples we were having to dinner. Well, the rest is history! Fortunately we had ample side dishes but I was extremely embarrassed in the skimpy fowl offering.

    Always love your "memories".


  29. The picture literally made my mouth water… and its like 8:30 am!! Wonderful recipe… and post!


  30. Emily Malloy says:


    This is lovely! :o)

  31. Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen says:

    Wow-This looks really special! I love the blackberries and rosemary- one of my favorite combinations. The addition of anisette sounds very lively! Sometime in the future- could you post a picture tutorial on the boning you mentioned? I sort of know what you're talking about, but pics would be really helpful! Thanks for a lovely read this morning!

  32. Jenn from Much to My Delight says:

    Ooooh! The combination of brown sugar and rosemary with duck sounds incredible!! What that must have smelled like. Great post, Chef Dennis! Will this be on your Christmas table?

  33. I have only had duck a couple times, and never dared to cook it, and I dare to ssay I'd be the only one in my house to devour it! Now, the anisette sauce . . . that's a different story (and I love your story about making Mama Jeannette laugh with your wit!)

  34. perfect duck, even Daffy would approve – and you are right, fruit goes so well with duck

  35. anniebakes says:

    I just made duck (that my son shot) for the first time last weekend in the crockpot–I made it like a pepper steak and ohhh was it good!!


  36. Elisabeth says:

    Hi Dennis-After seeing your beautiful and well done(the way it should be) crispy and yummy roast duckling, I am feeling sad…yet, happy, remembering my childhood.
    I even posted about it on my blog, that my father made roast duck (just about) every Sunday.
    He made his with sweet and sour red cabbage, and crisp roasted potato slices, and his usual roasted brussel sprouts…what amazing memories!

    Now I will start this tradition too, after seeing your amazing roasted duckling!
    Thank you for sharing my beloved Sunday childhood dish!

  37. BEAR's Mom says:

    Wow ~ this looks amazing!!!

    I do a really good Elmer Fudd version of 'Blue Christmas' 🙂

  38. LOL – loved this post!!! I'm so glad to know you love one of our favorite Indiana products. Have you tried Capriole Farms goat cheese yet? It's also spectacular. Hope the rest of your week is wonderful 🙂 Kate

  39. Kim - Liv Life says:

    Dennis, I truly enjoyed your reminiscing of Buggs, Daffy etc. I have to fully agree on your thoughts of Elmer!
    I have a friend who LOVES duck, and have passed this post to her. It's not been my favorite, but even not really liking duck, you have made it tempting!

  40. Torviewtoronto says:

    Dennis, I have never had this before beautifully presented looks like a filling meal

  41. Jennifurla says:

    I have yet to make duck, only had it once and the flavor shocked me a bit. I need to try it again. Perhaps a nice Valentine meal for my valentine. Thanks for sharing as always.

  42. RamblingTart says:

    Absolutely DELICIOUS, Dennis!!! I had my first roast duck a couple weeks ago and was absolutely smitten by the delicious, crispy skin. Yours looks heavenly. 🙂

  43. Hi Friend,
    I loved thinking of Mama Jeanette cracking up at your sweet sense of humor. There is nothing better than making those that we love laugh. I've never prepared or even TASTED duck. What a shame, I know! I need to change that. I love the recipe you included. The berry sauce looks and sounds incredible. Thank you for sharing sweet man!

  44. Hi Chef Dennis,

    How sweet of the people at Maple Leaf to send you those ducks! I think twitter is an interesting way to reach out to people you never would've thought you'd communicate with. Gotta love technology.

    Your duck looks perfectly roasted and delicious! We don't eat duck much, but when we do I thoroughly enjoy it.

  45. Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron says:

    I've had duck but never cooked it myself! wow this looks amazing. I can eat all the skin for you Chef Dennis 🙂 The sauce is def' a twist for me because when I have ducks I'm at a Chinese restaurant most likely. Having it with a berry sauce is very interesting!

  46. Michael Toa says:

    This is great. I absolutely LOVE duck. It's probably my favourite meat (a tough choice between duck and pork). This recipe looks and sounds so delicious.

  47. Hi Chef – I think anisette and duck sound awesome together. Your duck recipe looks awfully good.

    We used to make a smoked duck with lingonberry sauce – now I've got a craving!

  48. Anna Johnston says:

    I adore duck, so any duck recipe is worthy to stop me in my tracks and see if there's something new there…. Oh Yes I Do Believe There Is with this one. The fruit sauce & the addition of anisette is really interesting flavour pairing, love it… & got a giggle out of Bugs Bunny, Elma Fudd & the gang – I think its a universal story, there must be so many people who've grown up with these crazy cartoons huh. I sure did too.

  49. Marguerite says:

    Great story and fabulous duck recipe! And a beautiful presentation, too. I grew up eating duck, since my Dad and brother were big duck hunters in the marshes of Louisiana. My mother usually made duck and andouille gumbo. which is still one of my faves!

  50. Cake Duchess says:

    How nice is it that Beth from Maple Leaf Farms sent you ducks. It amazes me the people I meet on Twitter. Good think you tweeted her!lol

    Your Daffy Duck story is hilarious. No wonder Mama laughed so hard.

    Gorgeous duck. I bet it was delicious!

  51. I love duck! It is one of my favorites. I always get it when I have the chance. That is pretty cool that Maple Leaf Farms sent you a couple. The brown sugar and rosemary cooked with all that ducky goodness is making me so hungry!!

  52. sara @ CaffeIna says:

    I love Duffy Duck! And I love eating ducks (sorry DD!) From time to time, my grandma used to pull a duck out of nowhere (well, that's what she was telling me…she did not want me to know it was one of the cute ducks that her neighbors had…I used to talk to those ducks and I would have never accepted eating one of them). I don't cook duck here in the US, I don't know why. But every time I go home I go eat pasta with duck ragu 🙂

  53. Cristina - TeenieCakes says:

    Chef – Thx for the cartoon mentions.I enjoyed strolling down memory lane at some of my fav episodes of Looney Tunes. Bugs & Sylvester are my all-time favs. I know the episode you're referring to with Bugs and classical music…LUV IT!

    Gorgeous looking bird. How very kind of Maple Leaf Farms – you've presented a delicious looking roasted duckling. 🙂

  54. lostpastremembered says:

    Dennis, I never would have thought to add annisette to a sauce for a duck… I can see that it would really brighten things up and I love blackberries with game birds… match made in heaven.

    I think we should all give a shout out to the lovely people who give us wonderful things to play with. I asked one of my 'patrons' if they saw much financial benefit in doing it and they said it wasn't clear but that they enjoyed having people who were passionate about their products use them. I thought that was a great and generous thing to do. For me, blogging is expensive… such generosity makes it less so and, well, it's a great spirit to encourage. Happy holidays to them all!

  55. says:

    Daffy Duck: Fantastic Island is one of my favorites 🙂

  56. Dalle mie parti la festa dell'oca ricorre il 30 novembre, e la sagra dell'anatra ( raza in dialetto veneto ) l'ultima settimana si settembre. entrambe sono presenti sulle tavole natalizie. Non conoscevo questa tua ricetta , ti ringrazio di averla condivisa con noi. Buona settimana Daniela.

  57. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says:

    What's up doc? Ehmm, I mean Chef! I love this one and I'd love to eat Daffy. I love how you used the fruit sauce on him. I need to make duck, it's been way too long. Can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

  58. My favorite was always the "Duck Season, Wabbit Season" bit. Oh the hilarity!

    Loving the recipes. It looks absolutely perfect and I am even hungrier now!

  59. The Kitchen Masochist says:

    Love this post's title, it's quite catchy! Daffy and Bugs were some of my favorite cartoon characters.

    Unfortunately, I've not had good experience with duck. The ones I've tried had a strange antibiotic-like taste to them. I'm guessing they were preservatives or just weren't good restaurants with highly skilled chefs.

    Looking at that beautifully roasted duck makes me want to give it another try though. It looks so crispy and moist.

  60. says:

    I'm a veggie gal but I always enjoy reading your posts regardless of the topic. I found myself laughing today at your market story. My folks have some ducks so I'll forward this to my mother. I'm sure her friends would love a fancy duck dinner!

  61. Evan @swEEts says:

    What a beautifully roasted duck! I giggled my way through your little anecdote in the beginning.. I was always a fan of foghorn leghorn myself 🙂 If all you have to do is tweet about something you like, maybe I should try that more often! Or maybe you're just lucky 😉 Thanks for sharing Chef!

  62. You have me smiling – no – grinning! First – I must check out Maple Leaf Farms if it has high praise from you. Second – love the idea of an anisette sauce – what a shabby Italian I am! Never thought of it. And oh Foghorn Leghorn – my sister still does the best imitation of putting her feathers back on! My sister and I would entertain my kids with recreations of looney tunes! Glad you loved Daffy.I always stayed away from Donald. And the duck! Oh! The duck! (Shh don't tell Daffy) – scrumptious!

  63. Morellocherry says:

    not a lot of people that i know like duck. they say its fatty…but i happen to really enjoy duck when cooked well.
    this looks soo good dennis! i love the blackberries over the top of it too!
    it looks very succulent!
    ps thank you for the lovely comment! 🙂

  64. Liana @ femme fraiche says:

    What an adorable story. I STILL love cartoons..especially bugs bunny…but I do absolutely loveeee duck. Sounds amazing, as always

  65. Great minds thinks alike…It seems we both had Anisette on our menu this week ;o)

    I've never made duck and have had it at eateries very few times. Ohhh…how I wish I could taste that wonderful roast of yours.

    BTW…watching cartoons every Saturday morning was a real treat for me as a child…especially since I was only allowed 1 full hour…after that, my fathers shoes were waiting for me to be shined. I certainly don't miss the shoes…but I'd take time with those cartoons any day ;o)

    Have a great week Dennis.
    Ciao for now,

  66. You are so funny! I have to say I totally loved Bugs and Daffy too. I can't help but giggle every time I hear certain classical pieces because they make me think of those cartoons.

    I have never tried duck. I am not sure why, though. Yours looks fantastic.

  67. Daydreamer Desserts says:

    What a darling story, I remember endless Saturday mornings glued to the TV watching Loony Tunes. I personally have never prepared duck, however thanks to you I now have a goto source!

  68. 5 Star Foodie says:

    Duck is my favorite bird and I agree the Maple Leaf farms is the best for sure! How cool that they sent you the samples. Your roasted duckling looks fantastic, and I love that sauce with berries, excellent!

  69. Magic of Spice says:

    What a lovely sauce…I have prepared duck for my kids a few times and they do enjoy, and would enjoy this 🙂

  70. sad truth–i've never eaten duck. i have, however, seen every cartoon featuring foghorn leghorn and i'm not ashamed of it. 🙂

  71. amanda@seegirlcook says:

    i've never before prepared duck, but this looks like something i must try. yum!

  72. That sauce sounds amazing! I've had duck only a couple of times(and liked it), but never like this! You've taken it to a whole new level!

  73. Wow. That duck looks amazing. I was always a Marvin the Martian kind of girl…

  74. mangiabella says:

    serendipitous indeed! I really enjoy duck, and in spite of how some say it's "greasy" I have never come across a greasy duck dish LOL…and I have had the privilege of having duck fat fries (fries cooked in duck fat! i know, right?! deeeelicious) I have never made duck myself, but you make me want to try….and anisette sauce…I'm so there!! I am imagining Mama Jeanette's laughter right now and it brings the biggest smile to my face…oh how I do long to hear more of your time with her….

  75. Bromography says:

    What a lovely bird! I love duck, but never seem to get it just right.

  76. I love duck and I think not enough people eat or cook it. Yours has such a beautiful golden color.

  77. Hello Chef D. I passed by to wish you a great New Year with all your family and friends. May the new 2011 be full of health, joy and amazing recipes.

  78. The duck is gorgeous and I can’t wait to try this sauce. Thank you for another fantastic recipe to try 🙂

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