Honey-Glazed Roasted Duckling

From City Tavern: Recipes from the Birthplace of American Cuisine
© 2009 by Walter Staib

Raised by slave families and sold to Thomas Jefferson for a modest price, ducks made regular appearances on the tables at Monticello. This preparation would have been a particular favorite of Jefferson’s because of the addition of pecans. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson records the planting of “paccan” or “Illinois nut” trees at Monticello and expounds on the benefits of eating these delicious nuts in other writings.

  • Serves 6
  • 3 (6-pound) whole ducks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, quartered
  • 3 yellow onions, quartered
  • 3 celery roots, quartered
  • 3 small bunches parsley stems
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Herbed Barley, for serving
  • 1/2 cup peach chutney, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Rinse the ducks thoroughly with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the cavities with salt, pepper, and thyme, and stuff with the apples, onions, celery roots, and parsley stems. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.

Place the ducks breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Slice the ducks in half down the breastbone and remove the breastbone and backbones.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Lay the duck halves flat on a baking sheet. Brush the honey over the skin of the ducks and sprinkle with the pecans. Roast for 5 minutes more, until the honey has melted and coated the skin.

Place each duck half on a bed of Herbed Barley and top with Peach Chutney.