There’s nothing like a little bit of indulgence and luxury. Living with Brenda in the house is sadly neither. However whilst she hangs around the place drooling and dribbling in her usual uncouth manner, she occasionally comes up with a good idea. In this case it was having a roast duck, and indeed I liked the thought as frankly my exposure to a good duck has been rare. A lot of the modern trend is for a pink duck but actually I like the unctuous softness of a well cooked duck. The flavour is more concentrated, it’s less watery, and it’s wonderful to eat.
Firstly weigh the duck without the attached giblets to get the true weight for cooking time resolved. (It would be nice if Brenda got her weight sorted with or without her giblets and no I’m not being rude.) The cooking time is then 20 minutes for every 500g plus twenty minutes as with chicken. Get a large pan with a rack and place the duck within. You want the rack so that the fat will be able to drain off during cooking. Duck gives off a large amount of fat and you don’t want your bird swimming away do you! Brush with a little olive oil and a teaspoon of fine salt over the skin and stick it in the oven at 200°C. Meanwhile peel 1.5 kilos of potatoes and par boil for ten minutes. As you drain off keep the water for the gravy.
Take a large onion or two and remove the outer skin and split into wedges. Take two garlic heads and cut horizontally into two parts each. Once the potatoes are ready to be added to the pan, add the garlic and the onions, and a sprig or two of rosemary and place back in the oven to roast. Once your duck has done its time, take it out to rest – keeping it warm under some foil. Meanwhile place the potatoes back in the oven to finish roasting. Once they are done take them out and place in a bowl.
Take the cavalo nero cabbage and chop up reasonably finely. Steam for a few minutes.
Now take the roasting pan and place on the hob. Add some cornflour to the fat and turn on the heat. Add the potato water and stir with a whisk. I added a teaspoon of honey and a splash of dry white wine (in this case Chablis!) because I like to do that. Whisk until thickened. And now you are ready to serve and enjoy.