Carried away by the beautiful weather, a trip to the local greenmarket, and an extremely persuasive farmer, my boyfriend and I found ourselves walking home yesterday with a bag full of ramps, baby potatoes, kale, and a five-pound moulard duck. While I’ll take any opportunity to order duck, I’d never actually cooked it, so we spent most of the walk home contemplating theories and weighing the differences between ducks and chickens (which, if you’re curious, I researched and included below in a fancy Powerpoint graph).
In the end, we decided to take the advice of the farmer who sold it to us (“You have to stuff it with ramps. It’s a once-in-a-season opportunity.”) and use the cooking directions from a Bon Appetit recipe for Roast Duck with Potatoes (sans the figs and rosemary). The recipe instructed me to score the backs and thighs with a paring knife to release the fat, then stuff it with vegetables of my choice before putting the entire bird in a roasting pan to cook at 425º F for 50 minutes, then with the potatoes for another hour. And you know what? It was delicious.
Ramp-Stuffed Roast Duck with Baby Potatoes
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 4 to 6 (or 2 with leftovers)
1 5-pound moulard duck
2 bunches ramps, rinsed and drained with roots cut off
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 large handfuls fingerling baby potatoes (or any small potato)
- Preheat oven to 425°. Set duck breast side down on a cutting board and score the fatty areas along the backs and thighs with a paring knife to release fat. The skin is pretty tough, so you’ll have to put some effort into it, but be careful not to cut into the flesh. Turn the duck over and score the fat along the breast side and on the tops of the legs. Poke a few holes around extra-fatty areas of cavity.
- Stuff ducks with ramps (including the leaves) and garlic then season generously with salt and pepper (much of the seasoning will melt away as the fat renders).
- Place the duck, breast side down, into a large roasting pan, then pour in 1/2 cup water. Roast, rotating pan occasionally, until duck fat starts to render, water is evaporated, and skin is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove pan from oven and transfer the duck to a separate platter or baking dish.
- Toss potatoes in the duck fat from the roasting pan, season with salt and pepper, then scoot the potatoes to the perimeter of the pan and return the duck, breast side up. Roast until potatoes and duck meat are tender, about 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer duck to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes before carving. Eat up!