Roast duck with cider sauce

Potatoes and apples fried in duck fat, plus a salad of watercress and chicory, are the ideal partners for Matthew Forts roast duck
By Matthew Fort
Roast duck with cider sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the duck

  • 1 duck
  • 2 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 sticks celery, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 500 ml sweet cider, or more if necessary

For the fried potatoes and apples

  • 1 tbsp duck fat
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 1 apple, core removed, cut into wedges

For the salad

  • 1 head chicory
  • 2 bunches watercress
  • French vinaigrette, to taste


1. For the duck: preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Cut the legs and wings from the duck carcass. Using a heavy knife or cleaver, cut away the undercarriage (all the base of the duck), leaving the crown (the breast of the bird) in one piece. Chop the undercarriage roughly and reserve with the wings.

2. Lightly oil an ovenproof frying pan with a little of the duck fat. Heat the duck crown and legs in the pan, skin-side down, until browned.

3. When the duck is golden-amber, transfer to the oven to roast for 10 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

4. Heat the remaining duck fat in a saucepan until smoking. Add the reserved chopped duck and wings and fry until browned.

5. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan, and turn them in the hot fat. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and cider. If the cider doesnt cover the contents of the pan, add more cider (or water) until it does.

6. Simmer over a low heat for 1-1½ hours.

7. Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan and simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and keep the sauce warm.

8. For the fried potatoes and apples: heat the duck fat in a frying pan and fry the potato for a few minutes. Add the apple and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

9. When you are almost ready to serve the duck, carve the breasts from the bone and gently reheat them, along with the duck legs, in the sauce so that any juices released from the meat are re-incorporated in the sauce.

10. For the salad: separate the chicory leaves and combine them with the watercress in a salad bowl. Lightly dress the salad with vinaigrette just before serving alongside the duck, sauce and fried potatoes and apples.

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