Christmas duck with a cherry on top

When you hear the word Christmas, what’s the first thing that pops to mind? Presents? Tipsy relatives? If we had to take a poll, we’re willing to bet our most prized spatula that a traditional roast turkey would be among the top contenders. While we love a good turkey, it’s always fun to experiment with something new, so why not change up the flavours this year with a roast Christmas duck? This one has “mmm” written all over it.



Prep time: 25 mins | Cook time: 45 mins on the hob, 45 mins–1 hour in the oven | Serves: 4–6

For the duck:
1 duck, weighing about 2kg
200ml chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra water
½ a lemon, juiced

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot or onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
120ml red wine
200ml beef stock
200ml port
350g fresh cherries, stoned

Optional garnishing:
Basil leaves, (perhaps freshly picked)



1. Remove the duck from its packaging and pat the skin dry.
2. Place the duck and the stock in a large saucepan on the stove.
3. Top up the water so the liquid is half way up the sides duck and bring it to the boil.
4. Turn down the heat to a low simmer and cook for 45 minutes, either on the stove or in the oven at 140°C.
5. After 45 minutes, remove the duck from the stock and place it on a baking tray. Turn the oven up to 180°C.
6. Pour the lemon juice over the duck and season well with salt and pepper.
7. Place the bird back in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the skin is crispy and golden.
8. To get cracking on the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the shallot for a few minutes until it’s soft and translucent. Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute.
9. Next, add the wine, stock and port and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the cherries and cook for another 10–15 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about a quarter.
10. Once the duck has cooked, remove it from the oven, cover it with tin foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes, still in its juices.

Carving knife at the ready, slice up the duck and serve it immediately with the sauce.


This glorious duck goes a charm with a bottle of Pinot Noir or lovely chilled Riesling, and should you choose to smuggle out some leftovers, they also serve as a great distraction.