About Great Food

Gary Rhodes

Slow Honey-Roasted Duck

The flavors from this dish remind me of the taste found in Chinese pancakes with scallions and cucumber. The duck is so tender and gives a very full flavor, which makes you just want to eat more and more of it. I think that's exactly the "problem" you are going to find here: you just won't be able to stop wanting more! For this reason, it's best to allow half a duck per person!

Serves 2

2 - 3 lb duck
5 heaping tablespoons clear honey
1 teaspoon crushed white peppercorns
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325F. The duck breast skin should first be scored four or five times, just cutting into the skin itself. Put the duck in a small roasting pan. Sprinkle the peppercorns over the duck with the salt, pushing the salt onto the skin. Spoon the honey over the duck, making sure it is completely covered. Place the duck in the oven.

After the first half hour, baste the duck with the honey and duck residue in the roasting tray. Leave to slow roast for a further 30 minutes. The salt sprinkled over the duck will draw the excess water and fat from the skin itself and this will obviously collect in the roasting tray. After the second half hour, remove the duck from the roasting pan and carefully, from one corner, pour off as much excess fat as possible; it will be sitting on top of the honey in the tray. Replace the duck in the pan, baste with the honey residue and return to the oven. The duck can now be left to slow roast, basting every 15 minutes for a further hour.

The duck has now been slowly cooked for 2 hours. Remove the duck once more from the tray and again pour off any excess fat. Baste the duck with the honey and return to the oven.

During the last half hour of cooking, baste the duck every 5-10 minutes. The honey will now have reduced and become very thick, glazing the duck even more. After the 2 hours are up, remove the duck from the oven. If any excess honey seems to be still a little thin, simply boil it in the tray and reduce it to a thick, coating consistency. Pour over the duck and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the legs along with the breasts, making sure they are left whole. Sit the breast and leg, for each portion on the plates, spooning over a tablespoon of honey and any residue. The slow roast duck will be well done throughout; the meat will have become very tender and moist, just crumbling nicely as you eat it.

Note: You may well find that after 2 hours the duck is completely roasted, tender and glazed. I like to simply serve a good green salad, trickled with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon with this dish.


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