This recipe works with any sort of waterfowl. Domestic ducks typically serve two to four. As for wild birds, a mallard, canvasback, redhead, gadwall or pintail will serve two (if you have other things on the plate), a wild goose four and a wood duck, bluebill, wigeon, ringneck or teal one.
1domesticated duck or 2 very fat wild ducks(see above)
1lemon,cut in half
4sprigssage, rosemary, parsley or thyme
Set your oven to 325°F. Using a needle or a sharp knife point, prick the skin of the duck all over -- but be sure to not pierce the meat itself, only the skin. This lets the fat render out and will help crisp the skin. Pay special attention to the back, the flanks, and the very front of the breast.
Rub the cut lemon all over the duck and stick it inside the cavity. Liberally salt the bird; use a little more salt than you think you need. Stuff the duck with the herbs. Let the bird sit out for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature, while the oven heats up.
When you are ready to roast, put the duck in an iron frying pan or other ovenproof pan and surround it with root vegetables. Set the pan in the oven. Small ducks (wood ducks, wigeon, teal, ruddies, etc.) only need 40 minutes in the oven. If you are roasting mallards or a typical, store-bought Pekin duck, you will want to increase the roasting time to 90 minutes. A goose may take as long as 2 hours. After the allotted time, take the pan out of the oven and set the ducks on a cutting board to rest. Spoon any fat that has accumulated over the vegetables and salt them well. If the veggies are ready to eat, remove them. If there is a lot of excess fat, spoon it off.
Now increase the heat to 450°F. When the oven hits this temperature, return the birds to the oven and roast them for up to 30 more minutes, or until the skin is crisp. The reason you take the bird out of the oven is because a) the resting time helps redistribute the juices in the bird midstream, and b) you are crisping skin without totally overcooking the duck by only returning it to the oven when it is hot.
Remove from oven and let the birds rest. Small ducks need 5 minutes resting time, large ducks 10 minutes, geese 15.