Recipes from Maine Classics (Running Press, 2011) by Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier
• 2 fresh ducks, each about 5 pounds
• 6 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
• 24 fresh thyme sprigs, plus 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Pear chutney (recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Stuff the cavity of each duck with half the garlic and sprigs of thyme, divided evenly. Sprinkle the tops of the duck with chopped thyme, salt and pepper.
2. Place 1/2 inch of water in a roasting pan that's large enough to hold both ducks. Place the ducks in, breast side up, and place in the oven. Turn the temperature down to 400° F.
3. Flip the ducks after 30 minutes, and again after another 30 minutes. The birds should appear golden brown and the legs should move easily. If they are not yet done, roast for another 15 minutes.
4. Remove the ducks from the roasting pan and place on a cutting board. Allow the birds to rest for 10 minutes. Carve the ducks and give each person some of the breast meat, leg and thigh, with the chutney served alongside. Serves 6.
For the pear chutney:
• 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons peeled and chopped ginger
• 2 cups peeled and diced pears
• 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
• 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
• 1 serrano chile, whole
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
Melt the butter in a non-reactive saucepan and sauté the ginger until soft, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender, about 20 minutes. Let the chutney cool to room temperature and remove the chile. The chutney can be kept in a sealed container for three days.