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Fragrant Pepper Duck

serves 8

Cooking a whole duck in the microwave to drain fat before roasting in the oven makes handling this tough bird a breeze.

This recipe is part of Andrew Schloss's Sunday Dinners.


3 ancho peppers, stems removed
2 tablespoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ducks (about 4 pounds each)
2 limes, halved


prep: 20 minutes
total: 2 hours


spice grinder or blender
oblong baking dish


1. In a spice grinder or blender, or with a mortar and pestle, grind the peppers and cumin to a fine powder. Mix with the coriander, cinnamon, salt, black pepper and sugar. Set aside 2 tablespoons of this mixture.

2. Remove and discard the giblets and pockets of visible fat from the internal cavity of the ducks. Cut off extra skin and wash the ducks well with cold running water inside and out. Dry thoroughly.

3. Rub all but 2 tablespoons of the spices all over the outside of the ducks. Squeeze the juice from the limes and rub half of it over the interior walls of each duck. Place 2 of the lime halves in the cavity of each duck.

4. Arrange the ducks, breast-side down in a large or oven- and microwave-safe oblong baking dish. Microwave at full power for 10 minutes. Turn the ducks breast-side up and microwave another 5 minutes. Pour off fat and juices and reserve.

5. If you don't have a microwave, steam the ducks on a rimmed platter in a large steaming basket over simmering water, for 30 minutes, turning the ducks after the first 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375F. Transfer the ducks to the oven and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the the duck skin is crisp and the meat is tender enough so that the drumstick bone moves slightly when twisted.

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