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A whole roast duck makes a great centrepiece for a dinner party or special family lunch. With its rich, complex, gamey flavour, it is much more flavourful than other poultry and can stand up to strong, robust flavour pairings which is why it is popular in Chinese cuisine served with a tangy hoisin sauce. Duck à l’orange may have fallen out of fashion after the 1970s but the combination of fatty meat and acidic citrus will always be a great match.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
Prick the skin of the duck with a toothpick or metal skewer and season all over with salt
Place on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes plus 20 minutes per 500g (for example, a 2kg duck would take 1 hour 40 minutes)
Remove the duck from the oven and cover with foil. Rest for at least 20 minutes before serving
For an extra crispy skin, pour a kettle of boiling water over the duck and then leave to dry for an hour before cooking.
If roasting vegetables to accompany your duck, cook the duck on a wire rack and place the vegetables on the shelf below. The duck fat will drip on to the vegetables and give great extra flavour.
To add extra flavour, stuff the cavity of the duck with herbs such as thyme, rosemary or lavender or an orange cut in half.