Ornamental Separator

Dressed Duck

Learn about this recipe from our historic foodways staff, then try it at home

The classic pairing of duck and orange was savored by the founding generation as much as it is today. Bacon and mushrooms lend richness and depth.

18th Century

The ducks being singed, picked and drawn, mince the livers with a little scraped bacon, some butter, green onions, sweet herbs and parsley, seasoned with salt, pepper and mushrooms; these being all minced together, put them into the bodies of the ducks, and roast them, covered with slices of bacon, and wrapped up in paper; then put a little gravy, the juice of an orange, a few shallots minced, into a stew pan, and shake in a little pepper; when the ducks are roasted take off the bacon, dish them, and pour your sauce with the juice of oranges over them, and serve them up hot.

— Randolph, Mary, “The Virginia Housewife” 1827.

21st Century


  • 1 duck about 3 lbs. or so in weight
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 6 to 8 green onions
  • ¼ tsp. each of ground thyme, rosemary and sage
  • 1 tsp. of parsley flakes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • â…› tsp. ground pepper
  • 6 to 8 medium button mushrooms, washed and quartered
  • ¼ cup of the juices from the roasted duck
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 shallots, about 1 inch in diameter


  1. Make sure you clean the duck thoroughly, saving the livers.
  2. Cut off the extra flapping skin from the neck area leaving enough to stitch up. This keeps stuffing from seeping from the neck opening.
  3. Chop the livers as small as you can. Chop one of the bacon slices as fine as possible also. Combine these two in a bowl.
  4. Add the green onions, herbs, parsley and quartered mushrooms to the bacon and livers. Blend well.
  5. With the butter softened, combine the above ingredients together and stuff the duck’s body cavity. Stitch up the opening.
  6. Place the duck in a covered pan with the other bacon slices laid over the breast.
  7. Roast the duck at 350° for at least 45 minutes or until the juices run clear from the leg joint.
  8. Remove ¼ cup of the pan juices and strain them through a cloth to remove sediments.
  9. In a sauce pan combine the pan juices, orange juice and the finely chopped shallots. Cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until onions are translucent.
  10. Plate the duck, remove the bacon and pour over the sauce. Send to the table.

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