While Radar O’Reilly may be from Ottumwa, Iowa, Gary Burghoff was from New England, and he liked his food bland. So keep that in mind while you peruse this recipe he provided to the Los Angeles Times in 1975.
Without further ado, here is a recipe straight from the kitchen of M*A*S*H‘s Gary Burghoff.
“Roast Duckling A La Gary Burghoff”
1 cleaned, drawn duckling, weighing about 5 pounds
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cut lemon, optional
Remove all pinfeathers from the duck with tweezers. Wash outside with a damp cloth and dry. Wipe the inside cavity with a damp cloth, and dry.
Rub outside and inside liberally with vegetable salt and pepper. Truss with skewers and string, or simply tie with string. Tie the ends of legs together and bring string up around wings and tie in center of back.
To truss: draw thighs up close to the body, cross legs over the vent and tie firmly with twine. Thrust a skewer through one thigh, into the body and out the opposite thigh. Thrust another skewer in like manner through the wings.
Place duck on rack in roasting pan. Roast in preheated 350-degree oven about 2 hours, pour off all fat from pan as it accumulates.
During cooking, occasionally rub outside skin with cut lemon. Before serving, turn oven temperature up to 500 degrees for a few minutes to crispen and brown the duck skin. Watch carefully so the duck will not burn. Remove duck to heated platter.
If desired, make gravy from pan drippings: remove excess fat. Stir in minimal amount of flour, add small amount of liquid (water or duck stock made by cooking giblets with small amount of water, chopped celery and onion). Stir over low heat until gravy is smooth and cooked to desired thickness. Serve at once. Garnish with fresh parsley or watercress as desired. Serves 2. Delicious served with wild rice!
AFTERTHOUGHTS: Seasoned vegetable salt is obtainable from health food stores. If desired, use seasoned salt plus powdered thyme and oregano. Duck can be stuffed with celery, chopped apple, onion, broken bay leaf and minced fresh parsley. Duck can be oven-roasted with thin slices of orange attached to skin with toothpicks.