Pic of Roast duck with red cabbage

Roast duck with red cabbage

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Meat mains

Roast duck with red cabbage

Main Serves 4 2h 20 min
Duck breast and leg are two very different beasts. While the breast is best slightly rare, the leg needs long slow cooking. By removing the breast part way through cooking you get the best of both worlds and the carving is much easier. This is a great festive dinner with bread sauce and roast potatoes.



  • 2-2.5kg duck

for the gravy

  • chopped duck neck, giblets and wing tips
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • a little oil, eg vegetable or sunflower
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small glass of red wine
  • 1 tsp Cumberland sauce (or redcurrant jelly)

for the cabbage

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • a good knob of lard or duck or goose fat or beef dripping
  • 1 red cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 apples (Bramley if you can get them)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 20 min
Cooking time: 2h


  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Quickly fry the gravy veg and duck giblets until brown, add a litre of water and simmer gently while you cook the duck and cabbage. Season the duck and place on a trivet in a roasting tray. Roast for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 150°C/Gas 2.
  • Step 2


start on the cabbage

  • Step 1

    – in a heavy saucepan, gently sauté the onion in the fat for 10 minutes, add everything else except the apple, put the lid on and set aside. Put the red cabbage casserole in the oven.
  • Step 2

    With a sharp knife, remove the breasts from the duck. Wrap them in foil, set aside and put the duck back in the oven with the cabbage. Cook for another hour and a half.
  • Step 3

    Mix a sieved tablespoon of flour with 4 tablespoons of crème fraîche and a teaspoon of English mustard powder in a large bowl. Remove the cabbage casserole from the oven and grate in the apple. Mix the red cabbage (a ladle at a time) into the bowl with the flour, crème fraîche and mustard.
  • Step 4

    Return it all to the saucepan and cook, on the hob, for another 10 minutes over gentle heat. Check the seasoning - the fresh acidity of the grated apple will come through - and the cabbage will be lusciously creamy.
  • Step 5

    Take the duck out of the oven, allow the pan to cool slightly and pour off any surplus fat – save it for next week's roast potatoes.
  • Step 6

    Place the roasting tray over a medium heat, deglaze with the red wine, sieve in the stock and reduce until it begins to thicken. Stir in the Cumberland sauce or redcurrant jelly and check the seasoning.
  • Step 7

    Meanwhile, reheat the breasts, either in a frying pan or in the oven and carve into medallions. Pull or carve the leg meat.

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