A roast duck is great for a dinner party or a treat for a family lunch. Duck has a rich flavour with a delightful game note. With stronger flavours than other poultry such as chicken it pairs well with robust flavours such as citrus fruits, apples and herbs. We have cooking tips below.
Free Range Roast Duck From Great Clerkes Farm
Our ducks come from Great Clerkes Farm in Essex where the Hughes family has been producing the finest free-range poultry for three generations. They get all of their chicks from the hatchery when they are one day old, raise them on a bed of sawdust when they are very young and then on homegrown straw as they get older. They live under gas or electric brooders at a temperature of about 29⁰C for the first week. The temperature in the chick houses is then reduced over a fortnight until it is similar to room temperature.
They rear a large white Aylesbury cross-breed of duck. As soon as they are old enough as even as youngsters the ducks are paddling, bathing, spilling, splashing and sloshing around in their drinkers. Outdoors, they have huge drinkers that they can go wild in and make as much mess as they want. The birds are produced over a longer growing period (around 12-20 weeks for chickens and more for the other birds) than most mass production poultry farms, the birds have a longer time to enjoy the outdoors and develop a genuinely succulent flavor.
Ingredients For Roast Duck
Serves 4 people
1 Free Range duck from Morley Butchers
8 Chipolata sausages from Morley Butchers
1 Large onion sliced
1 Stick of celery
1 Large carrot chopped lengthwise
Sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Cooking Tips For Roast Duck
When you get your bird home remove from any wrapping put any giblets to one side. This will encourage any surface moisture to evaporate.
Before you start cooking remove your duck from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. Oil the skin and season very well with salt. This helps to remove moisture and promotes a delicious crispy skin. Season the cavity and place the thyme inside. For extra flavours you can add fruit such as orange or apple.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Place your duck on a trivet in your roasting dish with the chopped vegetables underneath (along with the giblets and bay leaf) pour in a little water so they do not burn, check during cooking and add more liquid if needed. Duck fat will drip in along with other roasting juices. The end result will be a tasty basis for some well flavoured duck gravy.
Roasting times will be 20 minutes per 500g plus 20 minutes. (for example, a 2kg duck would take 1 hour 40 minutes)
Remove the duck from the oven and loosely cover with foil. Rest in a warm place for at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with the chipolatas.