Rosemary roast duck with olive relish

Special to Tribune Newspapers

Tired of turkey and ham? Try our do-ahead duck recipe for dinner this year.

Rosemary roast duck with garlicky olive relish

Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 2 ½ hours
Servings: 8

Note: Allow two days for frozen duck to thaw in the refrigerator.

2 whole ducks, about 4 pounds each, thawed
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic, quartered
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 carrots, diced
1 each, diced: large onion, fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups dry white wine

Garlicky olives:
1 1/2 cups assorted green and black olives, pitted, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional5 ounces baby arugula

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove necks, gizzards and livers from duck (save for other use if desired). Sprinkle on all sides and inside the cavities with salt and pepper to taste. Prick skin all over with a fork. Mix garlic, rosemary, carrots, onion and fennel in bottom of a large roasting pan. Nestle ducks into vegetables, breast side down. Pour wine into roasting pan.

2. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil. Roast until tender and juices run clear when thigh is pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove ducks to a platter, breast side up. Cover with foil; refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. (See recipe to the right if using pan juices for soup.)

3. Shortly before serving, heat oven to 450 degrees. Use kitchen shears to cut ducks in half through the breast bone and to remove the backbone. Trim off wing tips. Cut apart each half between the breast and leg. Arrange duck quarters on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast until duck is heated through and skin beautifully crisped, 20-30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, for garlicky olives, mix olives, garlic, rosemary and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Arrange arugula over a large serving platter. Arrange duck pieces over arugula. Sprinkle olive mixture over all

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 652 calories, 75% of calories from fat, 55 g fat, 18 g saturated fat, 153 mg cholesterol, 2 g carbohydrates, 35 g protein, 332 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

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