Juniper-Rubbed Roast Duck with Cherry Jus

Active: 1 hr 10 mins, Total: 21 hrs 45 mins, Yield: 4



12/19/20213 min read

Juniper-Rubbed Roast Duck with Cherry Jus

Active: 1 hr 10 mins, Total: 21 hrs 45 mins, Yield: 4


  • 1 (5- to 5 1/2-pound) Pekin duck (aka Long Island duck), with giblets and neck

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, divided

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries, finely crushed

  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, quartered

  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 celery stalk, cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 4 cups cold water, divided

  • 4 bunches of fresh thyme, divided

  • 2 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)

  • 3/4 cup Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly

  • 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  1. Using a sharp knife or poultry shears, cut off the last 2 joints of duck wings; set aside for broth. Trim and discard excess skin around the neck cavity. Remove neck and giblets from cavity; reserve for broth. Reach into the cavity; pull away any fat deposits, and discard. Using a metal or wooden skewer, prick the skin of the duck all over at a 45-degree angle, taking care not to pierce the meat.

  2. Stir together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of salt, and juniper berries in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar mixture inside the cavity of the duck, and rub the remaining mixture over the skin. Place duck on a nonreactive wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, and chill, uncovered, for 18 to 24 hours.

  3. While duck chills, preheat oven to 375°F. Chop reserved wing tips and neck into 2-inch pieces. Place on a rimmed baking sheet with onion, carrot, and celery; add oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer, and roast in a preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 55 minutes. Add 1 cup cold water to the baking sheet, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer mixture to a large saucepan; add reserved heart and gizzards. (Save liver for another use.) Stir in the remaining 3 cups cold water and 2 thyme sprigs from 1 bunch. Bring mixture just to a simmer over medium-low. Partially cover, and simmer very gently (do not boil) until reduced to 11/2 cups, 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours, skimming and discarding any foam that accumulates on the surface. Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer over a bowl; discard solids. Chill broth until ready to use.

  4. Preheat oven to 250°F with oven racks in the lowest and middle positions. Let the duck stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour water to a depth of 3/4 inch in a large baking pan, and place on the lowest oven rack. Transfer duck, breast side up, to a roasting rack set inside a deep, aluminum foil-lined roasting pan; insert 2 bunches of thyme into the main cavity. Prick skin all over once again with a skewer to ensure rendering. Place roasting pan on middle oven rack, and roast at 250°F until a meat thermometer inserted in thigh and thickest part of breast registers 145°F, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. (Breast may take longer to register 145°F.) Remove the roasting pan; drain and discard cavity juices and drippings in the pan. Remove the water pan from the oven, and increase oven temperature to 450°F.

  5. Once the oven has preheated to 450°F, return the duck in the drained roasting pan to the middle oven rack. Roast until skin is dark and crisp, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat off the surface of the chilled duck broth, and discard. Transfer skimmed broth to a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside, and keep warm.

  6. Remove the roasting rack with the duck from the roasting pan. Drain and discard foil and drippings from the pan; wipe the pan clean. Return the roasting rack with duck to the roasting pan; set it on a heatproof surface, and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove and discard thyme in the cavity. Quickly run the remaining 2 bunches of thyme under water to dampen; stuff the damp thyme into the cavity.

  7. Place kirsch in a heatproof measuring cup with a spout. Heat a small saucepan over medium until warm, about 30 seconds. Remove the saucepan from heat, turn off the burner, and pour in kirsch. Using a utility lighter, carefully ignite fumes just above the surface of the kirsch. Slowly and carefully pour the flaming liquid over the duck. Once the flames extinguish, transfer the duck to a cutting board. Pour residual kirsch from the roasting pan into the reduced broth. Add Scotch Bonnet Cherry Jelly and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Swirl in butter until emulsified. Carve duck, and serve with sauce.