Tag Archives: Roast

Cor, Love a Roast Duck

Roast Duck with a Marmalade Glaze


This week, I am posting the series of posts that I failed to prepare properly before I went away on the permaculture course. I am going to document a roast duck, that fed the Big Guy and I for a week, over the course of this week. This will make me look like much more of a carnivore than I really am, because of the lamb I ate at Easter. But you can expect a number of salad and vegetable related posts to follow, I promise

As you know, I  had some marmalade left that I couldn’t sell, and have been plotting its use. As well as the flapjacks, I have been ruminating on making a meat glaze.

I have seen marmalade based glazes for ham, and chicken wings, but neither of these really hits the spot for me. Also, I didn’t want to have to strain the orangey bits from the marmalade because, having taken the trouble to hand cut them and cook them, I didn’t see the point in wasting them. So, I thought about this some more. Suddenly, I remembered duck a l’orange, that classic dish so popular in the 70s – the decade where everything was brown and orange, from the wallpaper to the food. This had to be the way forward, after all, centuries of French cooks (and a decade of British dinner parties) can’t be wrong.

Duck always makes me think of asian flavours, like star anise and ginger. In many Northern European languages, the orange translates as the Chinese apple, so I knew that this fusion would also be welcome. So I ruminated some more, and finally decided upon this recipe.

I also have a number of meals with leftovers (that may, in turn create other meals in a some kind of recipe tumblr) that will follow this, so there was really no other choice than to use a whole duck. The leftover meals will feature a logical progression in coming posts.

So, we bought an organic, free range whole duck. Disappointingly, it was minus the giblets. I like the giblets, and they really contribute to a stock – indeed, you can get a twofer on stock if you have giblets, as you can make a quick stock with them, then have a slower cooked one with the bones later on. This would have made an amazing gravy. Why don’t they do this any more? If you are going to eat meat, I think that you should eat all of the animal, it shouldn’t have to die for the best cuts only. Plus, you know, duck liver on toast would have been nice.

The duck did come with a lot of quills under the skin. Since the skin was to hold the glaze, and considering how long I had been thinking about it, I wanted nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the crisp, glazed skin. So, the quills had to go. I turned myself cross-eyed trying to remove them all. There is probably a really easy technique to doing this, and if you know what it is, please let me know in the comments.

The disadvantage of the way I come up with recipes is that I often decide to make things without having attempted the techniques that underly them. It is the same with this recipe – I have never cooked a duck before. Not being one to be beaten by a little lack of technique, I turned to the internet. There I found the Hungry Mouse. She has a beautifully illustrated step by step guide to slow roasting a duck, with an alternative glaze. As soon as I saw it, I knew that this was the way I was going to cook my duck. Essentially, the slow roasting and turning will sort of confit the duck, which may have made an interesting take on rillettes, but not this time.

Anyway, this all worked out in the end, because by the time I’d finished cogitating, and had done my research, bought the bird, and plucked it properly, it turned out it was my birthday weekend, St Patrick’s day, and the last matched in the 6 Nations, so I decided to cook up a storm for the Big Guy and I before it all kicked off for the weekend. A friend also popped by, and she ended up staying for a three course dinner. And very welcome she was, too.

Recipe: Marmalade Glazed Duck


1 medium duck

½ orange, cut into quarters

Few sprigs of thyme

3 garlic cloves, left whole

For the Glaze:

3 tbsp marmalade (orange will also do, but I had clementine)

1 tbsp Cointreau

Juice of ½ an orange

1 tsp ground ginger

2 star anise

Small pinch dried chili flakes

For the Gravy:

Juices from the roasting tray – making sure you have removed as much of the fat as possible. Keep the fat in a jar, you will definitely need this later.

2 tbsp plain flour

Small glass of red wine

500 ml stock. Duck stock would be good, if you managed to snaffle some giblets. I used rabbit stock, which was surprisingly meaty.


Cook the duck according to Hungry Mouse’s very-easy-to-follow directions and photos. The only thing I did differently was that I stuffed the bird with some aromatics (orange, thyme, garlic), which you shouldn’t pack in too tightly, it is important that air can circulate around the cavity. And I didn’t truss the legs up. The butcher (not my usual one) had “kindly” lopped off all the bits that don’t have a lot of meat on them, including everything below the bird’s drumstick, and the wing tips. Most people would appreciate this, but for me this was just even less to go in the stock pot. It also meant that there was nothing to truss or tuck up, so I didn’t.

The glaze is very easy to make, put all of the ingredients into a pan, and melt them on a low heat. Let them simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep in the liquid.

Once the bird has been cooking for four hours (and you have turned it, as per the directions), and you have removed the last of the fat, then glaze it with the spiced marmalade mixture. While you are doing this, turn your oven up to maximum and let it come up to temperature.

I used a pastry brush, and made sure I had glazed all of the skin, including the parsons nose. Keep brushing over the bird until there is no more glaze left.

Put the bird back into the oven, for 5-10 minutes, while the oven is high. I was also roasting some potatoes in some of the duck fat. To ensure that I was crisping the duck, not burning the potatoes, I put the potatoes on a low shelf and the duck on a higher one. When the duck was done, I turned the oven back down, put the potatoes on the top shelf and added a rhubarb and apple crumble, which we had with ice cream for dessert. Of course, this bit is optional.

Allow the bird to rest. It is really important to rest meat, it makes it a lot juicier, and relaxed meat is less likely to be tough. For steaks and cuts of meat, a good rule of thumb is to rest it in a warm place for half of the cooking time. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to a joint that you have cooked for four hours. Unless you want to eat the bird cold, in which case, go right ahead. Instead, I covered it with tin foil and a couple of tea towels then I set it aside for the time it took me to make a gravy, and for us to eat our starter (wild garlic salad with quails egg, and ramson pesto – which will feature in a salad post soon).

Make the gravy while the bird rests. First, heat up the stock in a pan.

Even removing as much of the fat as you can, you will still have enough to make the beginnings of a roux. Stir the flour into the fat and roasting pan juices. Put the roasting tin on the heat, and cook the flour out for a minute or two, stirring, so it doesn’t catch.This is so that your gravy doesn’t taste like raw flour later.

Deglaze the pan using the red wine. You will need the heat fairly high, and you will need to poke at all the stuck on meaty bits, so that they come away from the bottom of the dish.

If you want to be cheffy, or don’t want any lumps in your gravy, then strain the deglazed juices through a sieve. I usually just use a whisk to combine the fat and flour, so I don’t get huge lumps, and don’t bother to sieve it. Either way, add it to the stock, and continue to heat while you eat your starter, to allow the gravy to thicken

Roast Duck, Kale, Vichy Carrots & Roast Potatoes

Dinner is Served!

I served this with some braised kale, vichy carrots, and potatoes roasted in the duck fat. It was definitely a good match for the glaze, which made really crispy skin, even though the meat was falling off the bone. A really good start to a busy weekend.


Filed under Feast

Baked, Glazed Ham and Crunchy Christmas Crackling

Glazed Ham

A great roast!

The Swedes are a very traditional bunch at Christmas, and everything must take place in a particular order. They celebrate on Christmas eve, which starts with a bowl of Risgrynsgröt, which is essentially sloppy rice pudding with no sugar in. The celebrations do not start until their annual Disney clip show, Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul: “Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas.”, has finished. This was originally made in 1958, and they Swedified it, taking off Walt Disney’s narration, and adding a Swedish guy. They show it every year at 3pm, and woe betide you if you choose to call in the middle of it! They show the same clips, in the same order, every year, and no-one talks during it at all. I understand that they tried to change some of the clips one year, but so many people wrote in to complain that they have never dared try that again. I am not the only non-Swede to have been baffled by their absolute enthrallment by this programme.

After Kalle Anke, they have their Christmas meal. This is as traditional and not-to-be-messed-with as old Kalle and his clip show. As well as inlagd sill (which must be eaten with a beer), they always, always have a baked ham, served cold, meatballs, Prinskorv, and very little in the way of vegetables (unless you count beetroot in one of the herring dishes).

In the UK it has become traditional to have a turkey or a goose, roasted in the oven at Christmas, served alongside a number of cooked veg, often with the much-loathed Brussels sprouts as an accompaniment. We probably have loads of things that the Big Guy finds odd too – I remember his reaction the first year he got crackers, he loved all of that, and just could not stop giggling at the rubbish cracker jokes. I am not as aware of our idiosyncrasies in this regard, but if he wants to go on about them, he should probably start his own blog!

The great thing about having a non-traditional Christmas dinner, especially when it is not actually Christmas day, is that you can mix it up a bit, and dispense with some things altogether. A number of my guests enjoy my hot roast dinners, but I don’t really like turkey or goose (although I recently had wild goose, and loved that, I find domestic geese just too fatty for my taste), so I decided that a mix of the traditions was the way forward, and settled on a baked ham, with the traditional roasted and cooked veggies on the side, including an acceptable way with sprouts.

The roast and the trimmings

Served with all the trimmings

I had intended to do a gammon, but due to a bit of a loss in translation, I got a nice piece of what I suspect was raw back bacon instead. Never mind, I have a lovely butcher, and so next time I want one, I know what to ask for. This, folks, is one of the many benefits of using a butcher over buying meat from a supermarket. On top of this, we swapped tips on how I was going to cook it, and also what sauce to use. Please support local butchers, it really is a case of use them or lose them right now, as more of them lose out to the supermarkets. It would be a shame to lose their knowledge, miss out on some useful banter, or even improve your  language skills (not guaranteed if you and your butcher have the same mother tongue, but you could be surprised)

I originally got this recipe from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery which was produced by the Milk Marketing Board, and you used to have to buy it from your milkman (remember them?). It has been published since 1972, and is practically an institution, almost as entrenched in British households as stopping everything for Kalle Anke is in Sweden.

We are currently on holiday in Australia, and so due to travelling, I have not been able to get this post finished before Christmas. I decided to publish it anyway, as it is a great roast dinner and a good celebratory meal, whatever you are celebrating.

This was to feed 8 adults and one small child, but you can adjust your ham/ gammon according to how many people that you have to feed, and how much you want for lovely leftovers.

Recipe: Baked, Glazed Ham & Crackling


2.1 kg raw ham or gammon, skin on. I got mine vacuum packed, but this may not be possible.


100g muscovado sugar or donker basterdsuiker

200 ml apple juice or cider

1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp English mustard powder


If you have a large gammon, you need to soak it for at least 12 hours, with several changes of water, to remove the salt.

Next, you will need to boil the ham. If you have ham like mine, or you have access to a vacuum packer, I recommend boiling it sealed. This will require less boiling, and will help keep the finished ham moist. If you are boiling it this way, you will need an hour. If you are not using a vacuum seal, then boil it for up to 2 hours, in plain water. You will definitely not need to add salt for this one. I usually add onion, carrots, celery and bay, to make a lot of stock. Either way you cook the ham, it must remain covered with water, so place a plate over it, and use weights, if necessary. Check regularly throughout the boil to see if the water may need to be topped up. If you do need a top-up, use boiling water from the kettle, don’t add cold and reduce the water temperature.

When the ham has finished boiling, take it out of the water. If it is vacuum sealed, then be careful to retain the stock that will have been made within the plastic. If you have boiled it plain, then keep the boiling stock, but remove the vegetables. Either way, you will have a lovely, rich, gelatinous stock, which is great with bean dishes, stews and soups. Leave it to cool, and remove the fat, but please don’t throw it away!

Next, remove the skin. Try to keep a thin layer of the fat on the ham, because this will help with the glaze. You also need some of the fat on the skin, if you want your crackling to be lovely and crisp.

Score the skin, but don’t cut it all the way through, if possible. You want a block of the skin, which can be carved up later. Rub a fair bit of salt, and herbs or spices into the skin – I used fennel seeds, but cumin, rosemary, lemon zest, jerk seasoning, or a garam masala would all be equally good. You could rub with a little bit of olive oil first, to make sure the seasoning sticks, but this is not entirely necessary. Do make sure you rub the salt and spies into the slashes as well.

Place the skin in a roasting tray and put it in an oven at 180°C. Start to check after 20 minutes and remove when the skin has formed crisp crackling. This can be made ahead of time and warmed through when you want to serve it.

When the crackling is in the oven, carefully score the fat on the ham, taking care not to slash the flesh. You want to score lines going one way, then turn it 90 degrees, , and score in lines again, so that you end up with a diamond pattern over the ham. Stick a clove through the fat, and anchor in the meat on alternate diamonds.

The rest of the ingredients will make up the glaze. Put them all in a saucepan, and warm through until the sugar has melted. It should be quite viscous, which makes it easier to glaze the whole ham with, without too much running over the sides.

Spread all of the glaze over the ham. Make sure that it is covering all the fat, and don’t worry if some of it dribbles down the sides of the meat, it all adds to the flavour.

Bake the ham at 180°C for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the thickness of the meat. If you have a meat thermometer, you want to keep the meat at 80°C, which will keep the meat moist. I don’t have one of these, so I judge it by sticking a skewer in the thickest part of the meat, and seeing if it is warm. The temperature thing was a tip from my butcher, so rather than waste the advice, I thought I would share it here.

Baste the ham with the glaze at least twice throughout the baking process, to maximise the flavours and to use up that delicious glaze.

Serve it with the crackling, some cooked veggies (including roast potatoes), and a thick sauce made from chopped shallot, port wine, ground cloves, and muscovado sugar.

This is a real treat and great for any celebration. As you won’t have been able to read this for Christmas, I would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.


A Proper Carve Up

(c) J. Caspar 2011

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