Whole Roast Duck With Potatoes and Red Cabbage

Roast duck always feels special, this complete dinner recipe comes bundled with red cabbage and the very best potato recipe that I know!

Portrait image of a duck leg from a whole roast duck served on a black plate with scalloped potatoes and red cabbage

The Perfect Roast Duck Dinner.

Well, where do I start with this recipe? It is wonderfully old fashioned, about as British as it gets and as delicious as any dish I have ever cooked.

Regular readers will know that I am rather fond of the occasional duck recipe. Whether it is duck breast in my pan-fried duck breast with honey roast parsnips or slow-cooked duck legs in my duck donburi recipe.

This, however, takes the whole duck and does something quite magical with it.

I use a technique from a chef called Michel Roux Jr, so pretty much as close as you get to food royalty!

It features the very best potatoes I have ever eaten or cooked, but more on those later. We then rock some stunning cabbage and make a wonderful buttery red wine giblet gravy.

It is a complete Sunday lunch and ideal for a Christmas dinner for a smaller family. 

You will also not be left sat on the sofa pondering gastric surgery or subject you to the cursed turkey leftovers for months.

It will alternatively make a great mid-Christmas meal that you can rustle up pretty simply and make people feel special… Because let’s face it duck always feels special!

Square image of a whole roast duck with roasted scalloped potatoes served on a wooden serving board

How to Cook a Whole Duck.

I’ve spent years playing around with different techniques for roasting duck. This one results in a perfectly cooked duck with crispy duck skin.

I’ve seen and tried everything from searing the bird to even boiling it before placing in an oven.

This technique is insanely easy and has no preparation aside from stringing together the legs. This process is not even required if you don’t want to. But this is the best technique that I have found!

The bird is thrown in the oven at a brutally high temperature and then the temperature is dropped whilst the cooking continues.

The thing that really makes a difference with this roast duck recipe is to not cook it in a roasting pan. It allows the hot air to circulate around the bird freely which really helps render out that fat.

One of the downsides is that it does make your oven a little muckier than roasting in a roasting tin.

But this is a special meal, not your average Sunday roast, have you seen the calorie count? Cleaning the oven after really is worth it!

Portrait image of a red wine gravy being poured over a roast duck leg served with roasted scalloped potatoes and red cabbage

My Best Roast Potatoes.

Potatoes are my wifes favourite vegetable, she would eat them with every meal given half the chance.

These are her favourite potatoes, no I do not cook them all the time, but when I do I am in the good books. She even prefers these to my proper chip shop chips, and that is saying something.

So what makes these roast potatoes special? Duck fat and more specifically the fat that drips onto them from the duck.

In many ways, the technique is very similar to Boulangere potatoes. Traditionally that would be a hunk of meat cooked in the cooling oven of the local bakery on a bed of potatoes.

The fat would render out and then cook the potatoes.

Even in the relatively short period of time these potatoes cook they begin by roasting. Then as the pan fills up with duck fat from the roasted duck and the begin to become confit potatoes.

They are insane, wonderful, magical, think of a superlative and throw it away because it aint good enough to describe how good these krumpli are.

Yes, my blog name means potato in Hungarian!

A slice of roast duck breast from a whole roast duck served with roasted scalloped potatoes

The Red Cabbage and Gravy!

Ok, we now have the perfect indulgent rich duck and potatoes that will blow your mind we need something to offset that richness.

For me, that means red cabbage and a good wine gravy or sauce. After all, food is about balance, we have fat, we have salty. Now we need a little sour and a touch of sweetness.

My recipe is a slight tweak on the one I use in my roast pork belly recipe. It serves very much the same purpose, a little sweet and sour magic, to cut through the richness.

It also leans on a little bit of cinnamon and star anise to add a little festive sparkle, you can, of course, leave that out.

Finally, we have a gravy. A simple affair using the giblets from the duck to make a quick stock.

Then we reduce that down and add some red wine, again reduce that down and add butter. Whisk to emulsify and bosh we have an insanely tasty gravy, far better than anything you will get from a packet.

So there you have it a rarity from me… A left-field suggestion for a Christmas meal, one that is beautiful, elegant, yet indulgent and comforting.

If you want more veg then knock yourselves out,  but it really does not need it. You need to save room for all the other munching to be done during the day.

And if you have leftovers then take a look at my duck bonbons. They will be the purdiest leftover dish you will eat this year!

Landscape image of a whole roast duck with roasted potatoes and red cabbage served on a wooden serving board
Whole Roast Duck With Scalloped Potatoes and Red Cabbage

Whole Roast Duck With Scalloped Potatoes and Red Cabbage

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

A whole roast duck always feels special and this recipe comes bundled with red cabbage and the very best potato recipe that I know!

Ingredients

For the Roast Duck:

  • 2.5 kg Whole Duck
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Scalloped Potatoes:

  • 800 g Potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Red Cabbage:

  • 300 g Red Cabbage
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 25 g Honey
  • 100 ml Red Wine
  • 25 ml Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • Salt and Pepper

For the Gravy:

  • Giblets from the duck
  • 350 ml Water
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Stick Celery
  • 200 ml Red Wine
  • 75 g Butter

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 240°C 450°F.
  2. Trim up the duck of any excess fat and season will inside and out generously with salt.
  3. Tie the legs of the duck at the 'ankle'.
  4. Place a roasting tin on the lowest shelf of the oven to catch the dripping fat from the duck.
  5. The place the duck in the oven directly on a cooling grid, this allows the duck to cook evenly.
  6. Cook on this high heat for 20 minutes.
  7. Whilst this is happening heat a griddle pan over a high heat.
  8. Heat the oil for the red cabbage in a pan over a medium heat and cook for 20 minutes or until softened.
  9. Slice your potatoes into 1cm thick scallops and then pour over the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Grill the potatoes for a couple of minutes on each side to get some nice grill marks.
  11. Once the potatoes have the griddle marks and your duck has been cooking for 20 minutes arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the tray under the duck.
  12. Reduce the heat to 180°C or 350°F and cook for a further 40 minutes.
  13. By now your cabbage should be softened, add in the red wine, honey, red wine vinegar, star anise and cinnamon, and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper.
  14. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for an hour, this should tie in perfectly with when your duck is rested and ready to carve.
  15. Meanwhile, place the giblets from the bird in a pan with the onion that is roughly chopped and the celery roughly chopped and bring to a simmer for 40 minutes.
  16. Remove the duck from the oven and tent with foil and rest for 20 minutes. This is THE most important part of this recipe!
  17. Shift the potatoes to the middle of the oven and baste with the juices they are sitting in and allow them to cook on for the 20 mins resting time.
  18. After your duck has been resting for 5 minutes heat a dry pan over a high heat and add the red wine for the gravy and reduce by two thirds.
  19. Drain off the stock we made from the giblets and add it to the wine reduction.
  20. Reduce by half again, skimming off any foam, taste and season as required with salt and pepper.
  21. Add the duck resting juices and whisk in the butter just before serving!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1402 Total Fat: 100g Saturated Fat: 36g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 58g Cholesterol: 250mg Sodium: 326mg Carbohydrates: 58g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 12g Protein: 54g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

12 thoughts on “Whole Roast Duck With Potatoes and Red Cabbage”

  1. Sounds and looks delish. We love duck and braised red cabbage, they go together.
    I am Hungarian born and live in British Columbia , Canada. Are either of you of Hungarian heritage?

    • Duck and cabbage certainly is a match made in heaven… Both my wife and I are British born, we just kinda love the quiet life in the Hungarian countryside.

  2. I’ve never had duck. I’ve never seen it in stores around where I live and I’m afraid to order it out in case I don’t like it haha. We did just find a legit butcher shop though – will have to check it out soon and get a little more adventurous int he kitchen because this recipe looks so good!

  3. I like duck, as well. In fact, it is hunting season where I am right now. Unfortunately, I just cannot go this year so I hope my friends and family can drop off a duck or two for me to experiment with!

  4. Wow – a meal fit for royalty indeed! What a delicious and exquisite treat! Your duck looks wonderful – so tender and potatoes are perfection!

  5. This is totally a dish after my own heart, I adore duck and love that you found a simple way to make it work well at home! I usually only have it out. Also love duck fat roasted potatoes, we do those too. So good!

  6. We usually only have red cabbage at Christmas, but this recipe has reminded me how much I love it. I might make some tonight.

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