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Duck with apples, beetroot, sausages and bread sauce

  • Easy

This exciting recipe from Valentine Warner makes a memorable Christmas feast- all you'll need to do is set aside an afternoon for making it.

Christmas roast duck recipe (Photo by: Diana Miller via Getty Images)
Christmas dinner brussels sprouts

Here’s the recipe for Christmas duck with apples, beetroot and bread sauce

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Ingredients

For the duck

  • Large duck 1
  • Large pork sausages 6
  • salt
  • Dried sage 2 tsp
  • Beetroots 600g (1lb 5oz), peeled and chopped to rough 2.5cm (1in) cubes
  • Sea salt

For the apples

  • Cox's apples 6, peeled, halved and cored
  • butter 40g (1½oz)
  • A splash of sunflower oil
  • Malt vinegar 50ml (2fl oz)
  • Caster sugar 2 tsp
  • salt and pepper

For the gravy

  • Neck and gizzard of duck
  • Quartered onion with skin left on
  • Carrot 1 small, roughly chopped
  • water 1pt / 600ml
  • Flour 2 tsp
  • salt and pepper
  • whole milk 500ml (1pt)
  • 1 small onion peeled and halved
  • cloves 8
  • bay leaves 2 small
  • Stale fine white breadcrumbs 150g (5oz)
  • A big knob of butter
  • Flaked sea salt ½ tsp
  • Black pepper
  • A grating of nutmeg

Method

For the duck

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Fry the sausages in oil until well browned; they do not need to be cooked through. Take a large roasting tray and place a small baking rack within it. Place the duck on the rack.

  • Step 2

    Remove the giblets from the cavity and put to one side, then insert the sausages.

  • Step 3

    Prick the duck skin all over just into the fat, then salt the skin heavily. Put the duck in the oven and roast for 30 mins. After this time remove the duck, baste with fat and scatter with dried sage. Pour off most of the excess fat then add the beetroot pieces and toss in the tray fat with some salt and pepper.

  • Step 4

    Return the duck to the oven for a further 50-60 mins but with the oven now turned down to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. The thigh juices should run clear when the meat is pierced deeply with a skewer. The tip of the skewer should also be hot to the lip.

  • Step 5

    While the duck cooks make the bread sauce gravy and apples. When cooked, remove the duck to a platter and arrange the beetroots and apples around it. Remember the sausages inside.

For the apples

  • Step 1

    Melt the butter with a small splash of sunflower oil to stop it burning and fry the apples gently for 10 mins or so until well browned. Splash with the vinegar and cook it all away before adding the sugar. Swirl in the sugar until the apples are covered in a browned glaze. Season.

  • Step 2

    Transfer to a small ovenproof dish and reheat for 10 mins before the duck comes out.

For the gravy

  • Step 1

    In a small pan, fry the neck and gizzard hard with the veg until all are browned. Add the water and simmer this stock for 40 mins. Add salt to taste at the end.

  • Step 2

    When the duck is ready, pour away excess fat, leaving juices in the tray. Whisk in flour for 30 secs then add strained stock and whisk until thickened.

For the bread sauce

  • Step 1

    Put the milk in a small pan. Stud one half of the onion with the cloves then put them both in the pan in the milk with the bay leaves. Heat very gently so the milk barely simmers.

  • Step 2

    Cook for 20 mins until the onion is very soft. Take the onion pieces out of the milk and discard the one with the cloves. Chop the other half as finely as you can until minutely minced and add it back to the pot.

  • Step 3

    Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk until soaked. Fine breadcrumbs will result in a more velvety sauce.

  • Step 4

    Add the butter and cook over a low heat for 20 mins, stirring until the sauce is creamy. Add more milk, if necessary, as the sauce should be like thin porridge. Season with the salt, finely ground black pepper and a hint of nutmeg.

  • Step 5

    Put to one side and reheat gently before serving, adding more milk if necessary, since the sauce thickens up when made in advance.

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