Scandinavian Comfort Food: Christmas roast duck recipe

Cooking duck is not difficult – just make sure it is good quality and then keep an eye on it and check on it often while it is cooking.

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Serves 8

2 ducks, each about 3.5kg
*Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing
*2 Cox’s orange apples
*2 shallots, sliced
200g prunes
*10 thyme sprigs, leaves only
*10g coarse sea salt
*1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
*Duck stock
*2 carrots
*200g celeriac
*2 onions
*2 duck legs
*1 bottle of red wine
*1.5 litres water
*1 Tbsp black peppercorns
*4 bay leaves
*1 Tbsp coarse sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees/250 degrees/gas mark.

2. Remove the giblets from the ducks and rinse them inside and out. If there is too much fat inside, remove some of it, then you can melt it and save to use for crisp roast potatoes. For the stuffing, cut the apples into 2-cm chunks. 

3. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together and use to stuff the birds. Close the ducks with meat needles and rub the outsides in salt and pepper. Place breast-side down on a wire rack set over a roasting tin and transfer to the oven for 2 hours.

4. After 2 hours, turn the duck around, breast-side up, and roast for another 3–4 hours. Check the temperature where the meat meets the bone at the thighs using a meat thermometer – it should be 68°C/154°F. 

5. When they are ready, take the ducks out of the oven, leave to rest for 5–10 minutes and joint each one into 8–12 pieces.

Duck stock

1. Peel the carrots, celeriac and onions and cut into chunks. Brown the duck legs in a large saucepan in their own fat, turning occasionally until golden brown. Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, for 2–3 hours. 

2. Strain through a sieve, leave to cool and store in the fridge. When cold, you can easily scrape off the fat that sets on top (save it in a jar for cooking). There should be about 1 litre stock. It can be kept in the freezer, and therefore be made well ahead of using it.

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