Welcome to The Takeout’s latest cooking series, How To Be Great, where we take impressive dishes and show how easy they are to pull off.

What is it about roasting a duck that’s so great? Everyone can roast a chicken, but roasting a duck feels like an event—a feast for royalty, even! But in reality, it’s super simple! The secret, according to chef Lee Wolen of Chicago’s Boka and Somerset, is time. At Boka, Wolen ages his ducks for three weeks— but you can achieve largely the same result in a third of the time.

A few tips:

  • Remove wings and drumsticks (these would make great cassoulet or duck confit).
  • Place the rest of the duck uncovered in a fridge for six days (longer if you’d like).
  • To achieve a crackling, Peking duck-style skin, shellac the duck with honey and salt, then roast the duck at 475 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-18 minutes.
  • Remember, duck can be served essentially medium-rare.

Pair the dark meat of the duck with a full-bodied wine, like The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel.

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This episode of The Takeout’s How To Be Great is brought to you by The Federalist Lodi Zinfandel.

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