Grandma's Roasted Duck
One 5- to 6-pound organic Maskovy duck
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole mixed peppercorns
1 large orange (zested and cut into 6 wedges)
1 small bunch of sage
2 big green apples (cut into 1/2 inch slices)
2 big sweet potatoes - cut into thick wedges (optional)
Rinse duck and pat dry. Remove neck and giblets and save for another purpose. Trim excess fat from cavity and tail area. Prick duck skin all over with the tip of a sharp paring knife, making sure not to penetrate the meat.
In a heavy granite, mortar mix the salt, peppercorns, orange zest, and sage. Pound with a pestle until all spices are crushed, and the mixture is well combined.
Rub the duck with the aromatic mixture, don't forget about the cavity, then stuff it with the orange wedges. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or better overnight. When ready to cook, remove the duck from the fridge and bring it to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lay the bottom of a heavy dutch oven with apple slices and sweet potato wedges. Place the duck in the dutch oven and cover with a lid. Roast the duck for 1 hr 40 min. Then increase the temperature to 400F remove the lid and roast for another 30-35 minutes until the bird is golden brown.
Transfer the duck to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the duck and serve with the roasted apples.
Serve it with some roasted carrots and creamy polenta.