Is there anything more luxurious to eat for lunch than roast duck? While duck is a more expensive bird than chicken, it is undoubtedly delicious and makes a fine roast option when you feel like something a little fancier. It's also a lot more economical to roast a whole duck than to buy individual breasts and/or legs. Plus, all the duck fat you'll get from roasting makes the most delicious roast potatoes.
It is perfectly fine to serve roast duck with gravy, but for special occasions, we prefer a boozy plum sauce (recipe below).
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How to roast duck
A roast duck will feed at least four people. You will need:
- A whole duck, without giblets and ready for roasting (if in doubt, ask your butcher to prepare it)
- Potatoes, 500 grams
- Apples, 500 grams
For the plum sauce:
- Four medium-sized plums, quartered
- Ruby port or Marsala wine, 100ml
- Olive oil, a couple of tablespoons
- A pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180ºC fan/gas mark 6. You will need a roasting tin with a rack for this one, in order for the duck fat to drain correctly. If yours doesn't have a non-stick coating, line the bottom with foil.
2. Place the duck on the rack and prick the skin in several places, taking care not to pierce the meat. Rub a generous amount of salt over the duck. Place in the oven and roast for three hours.
3. During the last half an hour, pre-boil the potatoes and core the apples. Score the apple skins in several places.
4. Remove the duck from the oven and carefully drain the fat that's accumulated at the bottom of the tray into a pouring jug.
5. Line the bottom of the tray with the potatoes and apples (and any other vegetables you like with your roast), pour the duck fat over them and season, replace the duck on the rack and roast for an additional 30 to 40 minutes, until the duck's skin is crisp.
6. In the last 10 minutes, prepare the plum sauce. Begin by gently frying the plums in the olive oil, then pour in the port. Let simmer until the plums are soft and the liquid begins to thicken (though not burn). This sauce works equally well with fresh or tinned cherries.
Remove the duck from the oven and let stand for five to 10 minutes. Carve and serve with the vegetables, apples, and plums.