Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Roast Duckling Stuffed with Oysters and Red Rice

Kitchn Love Letters
Roast Duckling Stuffed With Oysters and Red Rice

This is an excellent rich and succulent dish for a holiday dinner or other special occasions during the colder seasons.


Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Red rice and oyster stuffing duck on table surrounded by green salad and glasses of wine.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

In Alabama, we never put stuffing in poultry; even cornbread dressing for Thanksgiving turkey was baked in a separate dish. When we started cooking together, though, Miss Lewis once used Red Rice as a stuffing for a suckling pig. It was so delicious I decided to try it with poultry — first with goose and then with duck — and that tasted delicious. The meat is moist and well seasoned, and the flavor is even better after it has soaked up the duck juices and essences. 

I’ve added to the basic red rice stuffing oysters, which were once so plentiful and cheap they were common in stuffing in the Old South. Though they are much more expensive now, you only need a cup of oysters — plus all their “liquor” — for this recipe. (If they’re beyond your budget or you can’t find them, just leave them out.) The chili peppers add quite a bit of heat here; if it’s too much for you, use less.

This is an excellent dish for a holiday dinner or other special occasions during the cool season. With the rich stuffing, even a smallish duck can serve four quite easily. To balance the rich bird, serve sautéed spinach or a salad of sharp greens alongside.

Buy the cookbook: The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Roast Duckling Stuffed With Oysters and Red Rice

This is an excellent rich and succulent dish for a holiday dinner or other special occasions during the colder seasons.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


The Stuffing:

  • 3 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 cup

    shucked, drained fresh oysters, oyster liquor reserved

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 3/4 pound

    smoked spicy sausage, such as andouille

  • 3 tablespoons

    bacon fat

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped onion

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    dried thyme, preferably Spice Islands brand

  • 1/4 cup

    chopped green bell pepper

  • 1

    small hot green chili, seeded and minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    coarsely ground chili pepper, or to taste (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon

    chopped garlic

  • 1 tablespoon

    tomato paste

  • 1 1/4 cups

    drained and canned whole tomatoes

  • About 1/2 cup Chicken Stock (homemade or store-bought)

  • 1 cup

    long-grain rice


  • 1

    (5-6 pound) whole duck


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan until foaming. Quickly sauté the oysters, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper, just until the edges begin to curl — about 1 minutes. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl to cool and drain. If the oysters are large, cut them in half. Add the reserved oyster liquor to the drained juices.

  3. Pour 1/2 inch of water into a heavy skillet, add the sausage, and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes (you may have to add more water). Now let the water cook off and the sausage turn deep brown and firm. Heat the bacon fat in the skillet, and add the onion. Sauté until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, bell pepper, chilis, and ground chili. Cook until the vegetables are well cooked but not deeply colored, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook 3 minutes, stirring often to avoid coloring. Add salt and pepper to taste, tomato paste, and tomatoes; continue cooking about 3 minutes.

  4. Measure the reserved oyster juices, and add enough stock to make 1 1/4 cups. Add this to the vegetables. Cover and simmer gently, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

  5. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a large, heavy nonreactive pan. Add the rice, and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the grains are all coated. Add the sausage and the tomato mixture to the rice, and cover tightly. Cook over medium-low heat until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Toss in the oysters, adjust seasonings, and let cool completely before stuffing the bird.

  6. Wash and dry the duck. Remove the giblets and other innards from the cavity of the duck. Remove excess fat from the two cavity openings. Tuck any extra neck skin into the neck cavity. The giblets may be saved for soup or stock, and the fat may be used for rendering or for a pâté.

  7. Spoon as much of the stuffing into the duck as will fit, and use skewers to secure the skin closed. Any extra stuffing can be spooned into an ovenproof casserole dish and placed in the oven with the stuffed duck for the last 30 minutes of roasting.

  8. Rub the duck with salt and sprinkle it with pepper, prick the skin of the breast and sides with a knife to allow rendered fat to drip out, then place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. It’s ready for the oven.

  9. Roast for 2 hours in the preheated oven, pouring fat off once or twice during cooking to keep spattering down. After 2 hours, turn up the heat to 425°F and roast for another 10 minutes to crisp the skin.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted with permission from The Gift of Southern Cooking by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, 2003. Published by Alfred A. Knopf.