Slow Roast Duck and Yorkshire Pudding – our Christmas Dinner

by meike peters

Christmas Duck

Christmas is one of the special silent moments of the year, it feels like time stops for a few hours. The streets are empty and we share some precious time with the ones we love. It’s a beautiful celebration of love and gratefulness – I wish you all a wonderful and joyful Christmas with the ones who are special to you!

At Christmas time, we share many traditions but each family also creates their own, especially regarding the festive meal. Some of my friends have sumptuous meals and cook for hours, some prefer it simple – like my aunt and uncle – they always celebrate Christmas night with Wiener sausages and potato salad. For me, it has to be duck – together with Yorkshire pudding on the side for the gravy and red cabbage, that’s my tradition.

My duck takes its time and cooks very slowly. It stays in the oven for around 4 hours and cooks on very low temperature (85°C / 185°F) which guarantees the juiciest and most tender meat you can imagine. It never fails! I always make a rich filling with apples, mushrooms, minced meat, liver, bacon and lots of herbs. It’s more like a terrine than a traditional filling – it could be a meal on its own. I prepare a bit more than I need for the duck and cook it in a little terrine dish in the oven (not as long as the duck, just for an 1 1/2 hours). It is similar to French Paté and I love it cold on bread the next day.

Christmas Duck


Christmas Duck

 A duck which takes its time

For 4 people you need

duck, rinsed, dried, rubbed with salt and pepper, around 2kg / 4 pounds
with neck, liver and kidneys
olive oil for frying

For the gravy

chicken, duck or goose broth 500ml
rind of 1/4 orange cut in strips
a sprig of thyme
brandy for deglazing
balsamico vinegar to taste
plum chutney or plum butter to taste
salt and pepper
sugar for caramelizing

For the filling

minced beef 80g / 3 ounces
thin slices of white bacon, finely chopped, 2
organic chicken liver, finely chopped, 60g / 2.5 ounces
thin slices of ham, finely chopped, 2
mushrooms, finely chopped, 50g / 2 ounces
sour baking apple, peeled and finely chopped, 1
organic egg 1
breadcrumbs, soaked in cream or milk, 1/2 cup
a small onion, finely chopped
clove of garlic, crushed, 1
parsley, chopped, 1 tablespoon
thyme leaves of 1 sprig
lemon zest 1/2  teaspoon
bay leaf, ground in a mortar, 1
juniper, ground in a mortar, 1
nutmeg, grated
brandy for deglazing
butter for frying
salt and pepper

Heat some butter in a large pan and fry the bacon, mushrooms, apple, onion, garlic, juniper and bay leaf until golden and deglaze with brandy. Put in a large bowl and mix with the other ingredients.

The duck and the gravy

Set your oven to 85°C / 185°F. Our oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for poultry.

Heat a splash of oil in a large pan and fry the duck on all its sides until golden brown. Take the duck out, place on an oven dish and fill with your prepared filling. If you have some filling left put it in a terrine dish and cook in the oven together with the duck (covered with a lid, for 1 1/2 hours). Leave the duck in the oven for around 4 hours. Check with a skewer after 3 1/2 hours to see if the duck is done, when only clear juices come out, the duck is ready. Brush the top of the duck with gravy (see below) and put under the grill for 3-5 minutes until the skin is golden brown.

My gravy isn’t thick as I prefer it natural without thickening agents. After you put the duck in the oven, fry the duck’s neck, liver and kidneys in the pan you used for the duck and deglaze with brandy. Take the giblets out, pour the broth into the pan and let it simmer down together with the other ingredients for the gravy until it reached its right concentration and taste. Take out the orange rind and thyme sprig and season with salt, pepper, vinegar and chutney. Caramelize 1-2 tablespoons of sugar until brown and add to your gravy.  You can also add some dark chocolate, honey or a tiny bit of orange juice. Play around with it but always use very small amounts of whatever you add and taste in between.

For the red cabbage

Chop a small red cabbage into very thin strips. Rinse the cabbage and fry it – still wet – in some oil or lard in a large pan with a closed lid for 5 minutes (on medium heat). Add 2 glasses of red wine, a chopped apple, some grated ginger, a bay leaf, 6 cloves, 4 junipers, 2 tablespoon of honey and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

For the Yorkshire pudding

Mix 200ml of milk together with 2 eggs, 200g / 7 ounces of plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Fill a bit of oil in little oven dishes (like the ones you use for crème brulée) or in the cups of a muffin pan and put in the hot oven (250°C / 480°F) for a few minutes until the oil is hot. Pour the dough carefully into the hot oil and bake for 12 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Don’t open the oven door before the puddings are done as they will collapse.

Prepare your dinner table with all your festive food. Enjoy with loved ones!

Christmas Duck


Christmas Duck