Roast Duck with Redcurrant Sauce – Don’t Tell the Wife!

Duck with redcurrant sauce (13 of 13)You can keep a secret, can’t you? Good. Then I’ll let you in on something. Just do me one favour, keep it under your hat and whatever you do, DON’T TELL THE WIFE. She’ll kill me. Anybody who knows me knows I am motivated by getting value. So when I saw nice looking 2 kilogram ducks in a local supermarket at a paltry €8 per duck, I had to get one.

With the bird secured, I got to contemplating the sauce. Orange? No. Been there, done that. Plum? No. Ditto. Redcurrant? Hmmmmm, that sounds nice and they have a lovely colour. Let’s go for it! So began the road to familial deception and an evening of half-truths and ducking the truth, if you will pardon the awful pun.

Part of the problem was that I left the sauce deliberations until pretty late in the day. So my foray into the world of available currants was confined to a particular supermarket without a reputation for delivering value. I selected the redcurrants (3 small packs) and brought them to the self service checkout….

Peep. (me scanning the first pack).

Fffffhhhhhhh. (my sharp intake of breath).

Peep. (second pack).

Urrrrrggggg. (second reaction).

Peep. (number three).

Parrrpppp (rude noise on seeing the total cost).

I brought them home and carefully laid them out along with the other (significantly less expensive) ingredients. The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice a bottle of Frank Phelan amongst the ingredients. This was a gift from a good friend. So, I don’t count it when feeling the pain of overpaying. And, more importantly, I don’t have to justify it to the Wife.

I spent a wing and a leg on this and the money didn't go where one might expect.

I spent a wing and a leg on this and the money didn’t go where one might expect.

The ingredients, in descending order of cost:

  • 1 bottle of 2008 Frank Phelan (I assume it belongs at the top)
  • 3 small packs of redcurrants (I know that they belong here)
  • 1 two kilo duck
  • 1 kilo of waxy, new season potatoes
  • 2 satsumas
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 ‘thumb’ of ginger
  • 3 teaspoons of brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few sprigs of rosemary (entirely free, from the garden)

First thing to do is to heat the oven to 200° C. Then ensure that the duck will never fly again. Cut the tips off the wings. Then stab the duck all over with a sharp fork. This to allow the fat to render more easily.

Any excuse for a gruesome and gratuitous preparation shot.

Any excuse for a gruesome and gratuitous preparation shot.

Season the duck on the breast side, with plenty of salt and pepper.

Yes, I tool the photo while twisting the pepper. A good trick with only two hands.

Yes, I took the photo while twisting the pepper. A good trick with only two hands.

Put it on a rack in a roasting tray. Place it in the oven for 45 minutes. Take it out and turn it over. Repeat the seasoning and return the duck to the oven for another 45 minutes. Take it out and pour off the collected fat.

Plenty of fat for our purposes and plenty to spare.

Plenty of fat for our purposes and plenty to spare.

Chop the potatoes into small chunks. Chop the rosemary. put the potatoes in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of duck fat, the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.

Tossed potatoes with rosemary, salt and pepper. A very simple and delicious side.

Tossed potatoes with rosemary, salt and pepper. A very simple and delicious side.

Take the duck out  and turn it again to leave it breast side up. Return it to the oven of a further 30 minutes. Put a roasting tray with three tablespoons of the reserved duck fat in the oven to heat until smoking. Take it out and add the potatoes. Toss to coat and return to the oven. They will take about 25 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking and the duck is finishing, prepare the sauce. Add some olive oil to a saucepan.

I love a good pouring shot. This shot qualifies, in my book.

I love a good pouring shot. This shot qualifies, in my book.

When the oil is hot, add the ginger (previously sliced) and  the shallots (ditto). Cook them over a low to medium heat to release their flavours. Add the redcurrants and sugar. Ignore or pretend not to hear any wifely enquiries about the source / cost of the redcurrants. When the wife leaves the room, add a glass of the wine.

Expensive sauce ingredients! No two ways about it. Don't rat me out!

Expensive sauce ingredients! No two ways about it. Don’t rat me out!

Squeeze in the juice of the satsumas.

A gratuitous juice squeezing shot. Sure why not?

A gratuitous juice squeezing shot. Sure why not?

Heat until the redcurrants reduce and break open. The sauce will be nice and viscous by this time. Sieve it and place the precious liquid into a small (there won’t be a lot of it) jug. The duck should be cooked by this stage. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

The cooked duck, resting after it's time in the oven. Tasty, eh?

The cooked duck, resting after it’s time in the oven. Tasty, eh?

There are plenty of videos online to guide the inexperienced duck carver. About this time, the potatoes are ready.

A delicious side dish of potatoes roasted in duck fat.

A delicious side dish of potatoes roasted in duck fat.

Carve the duck and serve to a very appreciative Wife.

Be careful not to under serve the sauce. It is delicious.

Be careful not to under serve the sauce. It is delicious.

I served this a couple of weeks ago. The Wife loved it. Hopefully, by the time she reads this, she will have fond memories of this fine sauce. Hopefully too, she will forgive me for spending so much on the redcurrants. Hopefully…

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Latest comments
  • I’m sure she’ll forgive you. Looks wonderful!

    • There’s no doubt that she is a forgiving woman.

  • Invite me next time. I’ll happily pay for the redcurrants and I’ll even bring the wine. It all looks lovely! (PS Our redcurrants looks as though they’ll be cropping heavily later in the season – shall I send food parcels?)

    • Hi Linda, You are welcome any time. All food parcels welcomed (needed). I would love some!

      • Thank you! Just need to think of a way to get them to you uncrushed … they’re still unripe but will happily send you some later in the summer. xxx

        • You will just have to bring them over yourself. We can then drink your cordial in the evening sun while the duck roasts itself in the oven.

  • The duck looks wonderful! The photo with the pepper looks fun 🙂 I bet your expensive sauce was delicious indeed. Has she read the post and forgiven you?
    Have a lovely day!

    • Thanks Sofia,
      She forgives most of my shortcomings. I will find out when I get home from work where I stand…

  • That price was even in my books an excellent one for those two babies. I wish we could get redcurrants in SA, perhaps we should start importing them. Apart from bottled ones I have never seen fresh ones here, it really looks tasty and festive!

    • They have a fantastic colour Willie. They also make a really tasty, tart sauce that is excellent to cut through the fatty duck.

      • Argh, you make me very jealous, I must find out why we don’t get it in SA. And I wanted to say those potatoes done in the duck fat, yummy, it’s the only way I do potatoes these days.

        • Thanks Willie, Though, duck fat is very expensive here, if you don’t render your own.

  • Perfect. The duck roasted so beautifully and the redcurrant sauce must of been worth every bit of angst about the price. Sometimes I guess we just have to break the bank a little for the sake of good flavor. Beautiful presentation.

    • Thanks, I think I have been forgiven for this transgression. Imagine what would have happened if the sauce didn’t work out!

  • Excellent, Conor. I love duck, 🙂 although Baby Lady does not. 🙁 So, I don’t cook it very often. The expensive sauce has a beautiful color and I’m sure was delicious but you had me at the duck. It’s beautifully roasted.

    • Thanks Richard. There really is not a lot of meat on a duck. You could roast one for yourself and perhaps have duck sandwiches for lunch the following day. Baby L could take pictures of both…

  • Beautiful recipe and photos! 🙂

    • Thanks. It was all pretty simple and despite the excess on the redcurrants, I got value out of the duck by cooking the potatoes in the fat, using the same oven as the duck occupied. Now, I am beginning to think this is a ‘value’ posting.

  • Very good – I hope you bought an extra one for the freezer 🙂

    • Sadly not MD. I should have thought a bit about that.

  • This looks so wonderful. I actually had a dream about roasting a whole duck last night. I did it once and it was fabulous and produced such a wonderful smell. I guess when you read cookbooks before bed these are the dreams you have. Well done!

    • Amazing Amanda! Hopefully, this is a dream come true.

  • Hahaha…. I can relate directly to this Conor! I’ve bought overpriced redcurrants a couple of times, just as I couldn’t resist their ruby red jewel-like beauty and the allure of redcurrant sauce. The finished product looks beautiful though, glossy and delicious! And duck fat potatoes? One of my favourite things EVER. Oh boy oh boy. This would’ve been a meal to remember!

    • Thanks Laura, as long as she remembers the meal and forgets the price of the redcurrants, everything will be fine.

  • Did you know that currants were banned from the U.S. for about a century? It’s only been in the last decade or less that we’ve been able to find them in groceries and, even now, it’s fairly rare. Expensive or not, they are irresistible. Your sauce looks worth every penny. And the extra duck fat is money in the bank. 🙂

    • Thanks Michelle, I did not know that about those currants. Perhaps it’s American demand that has pushed the price up for us here in Ireland? The duck fat really is a bonus.

  • I may be repeating a previous comment here Conor, but I tend to do the same in butchers/fishmongers. “Two pieces of turbot sir? *places on scales* That’s £21”.
    Cue internal monologue: “Son of a..” before replying “That’s fine”

    Your dish looks well worth the investment there though.

    • I know that internal conversation so well Phil. I have a stand-out example in my mind involving two black sole at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Even then I blanched at the price. I bought them, but never returned to that fishmonger. Now, 5 years later, I can’t bring myself to admit what I paid.

  • I don’t believe I’ve ever seen red currants in my neck of the woods, but that is not surprising. Nor is duck standard grocery store fare but I have seen it around the holidays. Beautiful meal, and funny story, as always!

    • Thank you for that. You are missing out on the duck end of things. Though, they are a bit of a ‘speciality’ here. In France, where we will be on holidays very soon, they are very common and of great quality. I can’t wait….

  • Awesome dish Conor! I am sure the wife will forgive you. Almost all berries (apart from strawberries) we have to pay an arm and a leg for so I will just look at your sauce and imagine how great it tastes 🙂

    • Thanks, berry prices are an outrage pretty well everywhere, except when one buys them frozen from the supermarket. Then they are only good for sauces and not as good as fresh for sure.

  • Very nice my friend, your sect is safe with me and has maybe added allure to the probability of me trying this sauce!

    • Thank you for your discretion. Do give the sauce a go. It will pucker your mouth (in a good way) and is great with the duck.

  • I, for one, am impressed on the great price you got for the duck! So expensive round here. Fortunately fresh red currants are not expensive once they are in season. Just have to go pick them at a local farm. This looks fabulous.

    • It looks like the divergent market pricing of duck and redcurrants means you will also have to pay too much. Somewhere, somebody must be selling them both at reasonable prices…

  • But it all balanced out for a fantastic meal, did it not? Gifted wine, reasonable bird, and a wee bit of over-the-top sauce ! Oh we can get the berries a lot of the yea here: ours are about $A5-6 for a tiny punnet: bet you did not pay as much 😀 !!!

    • I am afraid to admit how far I went on this one Eha. Let sleeping dogs lie….

  • Delicious! Any suggestion for a different sauce for those of us with less forgiving spouses (spice?)

  • Another great post with beautiful photos, Conor! It’s probably a matter of the currants not being in season yet. When using them in sauce, frozen may be an option (although I don’t remember seeing frozen currants — only blueberries and the like).

    • I was under time as well as financial pressure when I got into the supermarket. My choice was not made freely…

  • Funny, I could give up beef, but never duck. It’s just so damn satisfying. I love the idea of using the rendered fat to roast the potatoes. (We used the fat from our Christmas geese to roast potatoes and turnips the rest of the year.). I’d happily sit down to the table with your dinner. Great post – oh, and pouring shots are never gratuitous. 🙂 Ken

    • Thanks Ken. They had the duck back again last weekend. Fresh cherries too. I can feel a new post coming on…

  • I don’t visit your blog nearly often enough and it truly is my loss. You have so many great recipes here. Thanks Conor! I promise I will come back more often! Much more often!!

  • This looks insanely good! I’m sure the memories will be worth it!

  • Hi Conor,

    2.1 kilo, €8 also. Hard to resist really. I have never cooked duck before but have a few extras running around the garden so thought I’d give this a go and see what the family thinks.

    Wish me luck,
    Melissa

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