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Roast Duck with Burnt Orange and Cranberry Sauce

Made at Le Caprice | Serves 4

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1 large, fresh duck – free range or organic (with neck and giblets)
1 small onion
1 celery stick
1 carrot
1 bay leaf
30g caster sugar
2 oranges, segmented (excluding pith) and juice squeezed from remaining pith
100ml red wine
Icing sugar for dusting
100g fresh or frozen cranberries
Sunflower oil for cooking
Maldon salt flakes & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7. If the duck is tied up, untruss it – cut the strings and gently pull the legs away from the body. This will help the heat to get to them.

To make the stock
Cut the wing tips off the duck (the last bony segment) – there’s no meat on them and they will boost the flavour when making the stock. Put the sunflower oil into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Roughly chop up the neck, heart, gizzard and wing tips, onion, carrot and celery and fry over a medium heat until the meat is nicely browned and the vegetables slightly caramelised (around 5 minutes). Add the bay leaf, cover with water (about 600ml) and bring to a simmer. Leave at a gentle simmer for about 1¾ hours – the time it takes to cook the duck. Add more water if the liquid reduces too much.

To roast the duck
Remove any obvious spare fat from inside the cavity of the duck. Place the duck, breast-side down on a board and press hard on the middle of the backbone until you hear a crack. Once you turn the bird breast-side up again it will sit flatter in the pan, which will help it cook more evenly. Using a needle (sterilised with boiling water), prick the skin all over the fatty parts at the breast and where the breast joins the leg. Don’t prick deeper than is necessary, you want to just pierce the skin. This will help the fat to run, but still retain the juices in the meat. Season the skin lightly with salt and pepper.

Place the duck in a roasting tin and into oven for about 20 minutes so the fat starts to run. Then turn the oven down to 180°C / gas mark 4, baste the bird and return to the oven.

Baste the duck every 20 minutes or so. After 1½ hours’ total cooking time, check to see if the duck is cooked. Poke a skewer into the thickest part of the leg, close to the breast. When the juice runs clear, it is done. Tip the duck to pour any fat or juices out of the cavity into the roasting tin and transfer it to a warmed plate or carving tray.

To make the sauce
Carefully pour off the fat from the roasting tin into a heatproof bowl or dish, leaving the brown juices in the tin. Add sugar and orange juice over a low heat on the hob and reduce; add the red wine, scraping to release any meat left on the pan and reduce again. Strain the duck stock and add to roasting tin bring to boil and simmer. While this is happening, place orange segments on a tray and dust with icing sugar. Put under a hot grill until caramelised – be careful not to burn. To finish, sieve the sauce into a thick-bottomed saucepan bring to boil and reduce till you have rich syrupy sauce. Add cranberries and oranges, check seasoning and keep warm.

 

To serve
To serve, carve the bird for 4 people, slice between the legs and breast, then prise off the whole legs, carefully pulling the thighbone away from the body of the bird. Cut each leg in half at the joint between the thigh and the drumstick. Slice each whole breast from the carcass, with the crispy skin attached, then cut each breast into 5 or 6 thick slices. Offer each guest a few slices of breast, with either a thigh or a drumstick. Serve on warmed plates, with the sauce and some roasted vegetables.

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