Cooking with Sophie - Winter


This is a slow-roast duck recipe for those who want to take some time out and have a good weekend cooking session. You will start the night before and remove the duck from the fridge an hour or so before cooking to come to room temperature. So, if you are making this for lunch, remember to get up early to take it out, then crawl back into bed with a hot cup of your favourite morning brew.


SALT RUB 3 tbsp sea salt, 1tbsp mixed spice, 1 long sprig of rosemary – leaves only – chopped (I used a homemade Dutch Speculaas biscuit spice mix which differs from mixed spice in the addition of aniseed & cardamom)

Rind of 2 grated oranges; 3 cm of ginger, minced; 3 cloves of garlic, minced.

3 Oranges sliced into 6 wedges each
14 Cloves – I like to stick these into the orange wedges
1 Cinnamon stick
5 Star anise
5 Green cardamom pods
3 Sprigs rosemary

Remove the giblets and save for the glaze and sauce. Trim off a bit of flappy neck skin. Prick duck skin all over with the tip of a sharp knife, making sure not to penetrate the meat. 

Mix the SALT RUB together with a pestle & mortar – this helps release the oils in the rosemary, but don’t worry too much if you don’t have one to hand, a bowl & some tough fingers will do if you rub the mix together a little before applying to the duck. Now rub the Duck all over to your hearts content. Reserve any left-over rub, you will need it in a moment. 

Make the AROMATIC PASTE  and spread inside the duck coating all sides of the cavity.

Toss the left-over salt rub inside the duck, in your best “chef-ey” manner so it sticks to the paste.

THE REST to place inside the duck. I usually give the orange wedges a little squeeze to release the juice as I place them in, alternating them with the spices & rosemary as I go along.

Tie the legs together and secure the neck flap with a wooden skewer or toothpicks. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan or on a plate (if you are tight on space), breast-side up and refrigerate overnight, uncovered.  

Very important - Plan for 7 hours until carving time.
2 hours out of the fridge before cooking
10 min at 250 C – under foil
3 ½ hrs at 150 C – turning duck over every 45 minutes, under foil.
30 mins at 150 C – with glaze, no foil
20 – 30 mins resting time, while you finish the sauce.

Start by removing the duck from the fridge 2 hours before you turn on the oven, this allows the duck to come to room temperature, ensuring even cooking once in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 250 C – Place duck on a rack in a roasting tin if you have not already done so. Create a tinfoil tent over the duck & roast for 10 min, lower the temperature to 150 C, leave the oven door open a crack for a minute to bring down the temperature.

Turn the duck over every 45 minutes, carefully pouring off fat – do this into a clear jug for visibility, let the fat rest & then pour off the clean, risen fat to keep for roasting potatoes, save any juices that have collected at the bottom for the sauce. If you are clumsy, invest in a “turkey baster” – massive pipette – that will allow you to suck up the juices without pouring it all over the floor... I speak from experience.

*TIP - After 2 ½ hours I tuck sweet potatoes, halved lengthways, skin still on, around the duck to catch the fat, removing them an hour later – I then scoop these out, discarding the skins & make mash to serve with the duck, adding some extra nutmeg, chopped rosemary, salt & pepper.
Prepare the glaze – also the base for your sauce:

50g butter
1 Shallot finely chopped
Juice of 4 oranges or 450 ml of juice
3 Star Anise
7 Cloves, whole
2 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp Demerara sugar
1 tbsp Honey: pine, fir or rosemary – you could also use.

In a sauce pan, soften the shallots in melted butter over a medium heat, but do not brown. Set aside. In the same pan, brown the giblets over a medium – high heat to caramelise, discard, they have now done their job - pick them out of the pan, you want to keep the meaty buttery juices.

Deglaze the pan with orange juice, return shallots to the pan, add remaining ingredients, ensuring sugar melts down before reducing until you have a medium-thick syrup. Remove from the heat, strain & set aside. Don’t bother cleaning the pan, you can use it later for the sauce.

After 3 ½ hours under tinfoil, remove the duck from the oven, pour off fat from the roasting pan one more time & paint the duck with glaze. Return duck without foil to the oven for 30 mins. Remove from the oven, paint one more time, let rest under foil or in a warm spot for 20-30 mins while you prepare the sauce & organise any accompaniments, plates, drinks, etc.

Deglaze the roasting pan with 100 ml of water or a splash of whatever you’ve chosen to drink with the duck. Strain, along with all the juice you have managed to collect & remaining glaze into the sauce pan you didn’t clean on purpose. Allow this to reduce, until you’ve reached a pleasing consistency, season to taste.
Now you can carve your duck – As this is a slow-cooked bird the meat will fall off the bone without much effort from your part – only trick is getting it to look tidy on the plate.