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Roast Duck

by Trine Hahnemann from Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge (Quadrille)

Photography: Issy Croker


Roasting duck is a welcome event for me every Christmas; it is a part of my menu that never changes. It would not be Christmas without roast duck, always organic from a small farm on Fyn island. I either slow roast it or barbecue it and I always make the same stuffing. Cooking duck is not difficult – just make sure it is good quality and then keep an eye on it and check on it often while it is cooking.


Serves 8 for Christmas Eve


Ingredients



2 ducks, each about 3.5kg/ 7lb 12oz

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


FOR THE STUFFING

2 Cox’s orange apples

2 shallots, sliced

200g/7oz prunes

10 thyme sprigs, leaves only

10g/1/3 oz coarse sea salt

1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper


DUCK STOCK

2 carrots

200g/7oz celeriac

2 onions

2 duck legs

1 bottle of red wine

1.5 litres/6 cups water

1 tbsp black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

1 tbsp coarse sea salt




Method


Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/gas mark ½.

Remove the giblets from the ducks and rinse them inside and out. If there is too much fat inside, remove some of it, then you can melt it and save to use for crisp roast potatoes. For the stuffing, cut the apples into 2-cm/ 3/4-in chunks. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and use to stuff the birds. Close the ducks with meat needles and rub the outsides in salt and pepper. Place breast-side down on a wire rack set over a roasting tin and transfer to the oven for 2 hours.


After 2 hours, turn the duck around, breast-side up, and roast for another 3–4 hours. Check the temperature where the meat meets the bone at the thighs using a meat thermometer – it should be 68°C/154°F. When they are ready, take the ducks out of the oven, leave to rest for 5–10 minutes and joint each one into 8–12 pieces.


DUCK STOCK

Peel the carrots, celeriac and onions and cut into chunks. Brown the duck legs in a large saucepan in their own fat, turning occasionally until golden brown. Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 2–3 hours. Strain through a sieve, leave to cool and store in the fridge. When cold, you can easily scrape off the fat that sets on top (save it in a jar for cooking). There should be about 1 litre/4 cups stock. It can be kept in the freezer, and therefore be made well ahead of using it.


Gravy

Serves 8

Ingredients

About 1Litre/4 cups Duck Stock

75g/4 tbsp salted butter

6 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour

100ml/scant

½ cup port

1 tsp Danish Blue cheese (or any blue cheese of choice)

1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

300ml/1¼ cups double (heavy) cream

A dash of balsamic vinegar

1 tsp gravy browning (optional)

Method

For the gravy, heat the Duck Stock in a pan. Melt the butter in a separate pan, whisk in the flour & cook until even & shiny, with absolutely no lumps.

Add the hot stock little by little, stirring after each addition until all the stock is used. Slowly bring to the boil then add the port, blue cheese, redcurrant jelly, cream, balsamic vinegar & some pepper, stirring constantly.

Leave to simmer for a few minutes, season to taste with salt, & some more pepper. Add the gravy browning if you want a darker colour.

Reheat when ready to serve.


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