Roast Duck

Roast Duck

Ingredients

Serves 4
  • 600-650g potatoes [maris piper, preferably], well scrubbed and cut in half, but unpeeled
  • A thick slice of soft butter
  • 50g trimmed spring onions, chopped
  • 4-5 sprigs sage, leaves chopped
  • Sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 x 2kg Aylesbury duck, with giblets [chop off the end part of the wings and add to the giblets]
  • 400mls duck [or chicken] stock
  • 100mls Amontillado sherry
  • 1 level tbsp flour

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Put the potatoes in a steamer and cook until only just tender; still a little bit firm in the centre is about right, here. Remove from the steamer and leave to cool until you can handle them, but still warm. 
  2. Peel off the skins and then roughly mash them in a wide pan with a hand-held manual masher; they need to be a bit lumpy. Stir in the butter, spring onions and sage, then lightly season and leave to cool.
  3. Once cool, pack the potatoes inside the duck's cavity until completely full; a good trick for this is to stand the duck up in a suitable tall pot that will hold the duck upright and leave you with two hands free. Rub a tiny amount of sunflower oil over the surface, sprinkle with salt and then place the duck on a rack inside a deep roasting tin, breast side uppermost and slide into the oven. While the duck is roasting, some of the potato will ooze out of the duck, browning as it so does, but this will possibly be the best bit! Roast for 30 minutes, then remove and pour off any rendered fat into a bowl. During this first 30 minutes is the time to make your apple sauce [below] Roast for a further 30 minutes and repeat the process.
  4. During this second 30 minutes, roughly chop up the giblets. Once the second lot of fat has been decanted, tip the chopped giblets into the roasting tin and replace the duck above them.
  5. Now, turn the oven down to 190C/gas mark 5 and continue roasting the duck for a further 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is crisp and some of the potato has oozed out into the tin. Carefully lift the duck from the tin on its rack and place on another clean oven tray, taking care to put any bits of escaped potato with it, too. Tip out all remaining fat into the bowl bar a couple of tablespoons or so, while also taking care to leave the giblet bits behind. Allow the duck to rest on top of the stove, loosely covered in foil. Leave the oven on.
  6. Put the giblet roasting tin directly over a low heat and stir in the flour. Allow to become browned with the giblets and fat - about 5 minutes - then pour in the sherry and stock and stir in. As it lightly thickens, make sure that you also scrape up any clinging bits of giblet stuck to the tin. Bring to a simmer and then transfer both the giblets and sauce to a pan. Allow to quietly simmer, removing any scum that surfaces with a spoon. When ready to serve, strain and discard the exhausted giblets. 
  7. Now, carefully remove the legs and breasts from the duck's carcase using a sharp knife, keeping it close to the carcase as you work. Return these to the roasting tin.
  8. Now scoop out all the potato from inside the carcase into a non-stick frying pan. Place this on a medium heat and spread out the potato with a spatula. Slowly begin to fry the potato mixture in some of the duck fat, while also turning it over and around in the pan; think bubble and squeak. As the potato starts to brown, drizzle in more duck fat and begin to toss in the pan.
  9. While this is going on, cook the sprouts [see below] and also return the duck joints to the top of the oven and re-heat for about 10 minutes, or until the duck skin has become nice and crisp; you may flash them under a moderate grill, if you like, to aid final crisping]. Once the potato has become golden brown all over, slide onto a hot plate.
  10. Finally present the duck joints on a heated platter and hand out the gravy, apple sauce, sprouts and potato at the table.