For the duck
- 1½-2kg/3lb 5oz-4lb 8oz oven-ready duck
Rich and full of flavour, duck meat is extremely nutritious, with high levels of protein, B…
- 2 tsp coarse sea salt (see 'Try' below)
- 4 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tsp sesame seed
For the red wine sauce
Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Score the duck breast skin with a sharp knife. This helps release excess fat from the skin as the bird roasts. Season the duck with the sea salt and pepper, then sit it on a rack set in a roasting tray and roast for 1½ hrs. Remove the bird from the oven and pour off the excess fat collected in the tray.
Return the duck to the roasting tray, then spoon 3 tbsp of the honey over to cover the breasts and legs. Roast the duck for a further hr, basting with the honey every 10-15 mins. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top during the final 10 mins of roasting.
Once cooked, remove duck from the roasting tray, and allow it to rest for 10-15 mins. Spoon the remaining tbsp of honey over the duck as it rests.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tin, leaving behind a couple of tbsp of the honey and duck juices. Heat the roasting tray on top of the stove. Once the contents sizzle and become well caramelised, pour in the red wine, then boil for a few mins to reduce by about a third. Pour in the chicken stock (or water and stock cube), then simmer for several mins, also allowing it to slightly reduce to strengthen the flavour. Finish off the sauce (which is quite loose) with the knob of butter (for thicker gravy see 'Try' below). Season with salt and pepper and strain through a fine sieve, if you like.
Now finsih it in style: Gary say's: I prefer to serve just the half duck on the plate. To do this, remove the duck breasts and legs from the breast bone by cutting either side of the breast bone, following its natural line. Drizzle any excess honey juices over and offer all accompaniments separately.
Salting the duck really well before roasting draws the moisture out, which helps to crisp up the skin.
If you prefer a thicker gravy, instead of adding a knob of butter when finishing it, mix 1 tsp cornflour with a few drops of water or red wine and stir into the gravy, simmering until thickened.