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Slow-Roast Duck with Port & Cherry Sauce

Transform your Sunday lunch with Mary Berry's slow-roasted duck with a Port & cherry sauce, as seen on her BBC series, Classic.

From the book

Mary Berry


Duck à l’orange, duck with cherry sauce, such classic recipes. Originally the cherries would have to be fresh so the time of year was restricted; now use fresh or the frozen ones are excellent too. A cross between Chinese crispy duck and standard roast duck – plenty of crisp skin with fall-apart moist and tender meat. The sauce has a delicious sweet and savoury note to it, and is beautifully glossy.

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1.8-2kg (4lb-4¼lb) whole duck without giblets (see tip)
sunflower oil (for rubbing into the duck's skin)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cherry sauce:
3 shallots, chopped
150ml (5fl oz) port
150ml (5fl oz) red wine
300ml (10 fl oz) chicken stock
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1½ tsp balsamic vinegar
200g (7oz) frozen pitted cherries (defrosted)
2½ tbsp cornflour

Essential kit

You will need: a trivet.


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7.

2. Sit the duck, breast side up, on a trivet in a roasting tin and dry the skin with kitchen paper – the drier it is the crisper the cooked skin will be. Rub the skin with oil and season with salt.

3. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/140°C fan/Gas 3 and slow-roast for 2½ hours, basting from time to time. The wings of the duck should be tender, and the legs should come away easily from the body of the bird.

4. Drain the fat from the bottom of the tin, reserving 1 tablespoon for cooking the sauce (see also tip). Increase the oven temperature to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7 and return the tin to the oven for 20–30 minutes or until the skin of the duck is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the reserved duck fat in a medium saucepan and fry the shallots over a medium-high heat for 4–5 minutes until lightly golden but not burnt. Pour in the port, wine and stock, then raise the heat and allow to bubble for 5–10 minutes until reduced by a third.

6. Add the jelly and vinegar, then strain the sauce and discard the shallots. Mix the cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until smooth. Add a little of the hot sauce to the bowl and then add the mixture to the rest of the sauce in the pan. Add the cherries and carefully bring to the boil, stirring. Season with salt and pepper and boil until the sauce is glossy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

7. Carve the duck – it will be very tender and cooked through, not pink like a duck breast – and serve with the cherry sauce.

Cook time: 3½ hours, plus resting.

Prepare ahead: The sauce can be made up to a day ahead and reheated. The duck can be roasted 8 hours ahead if serving cold.

Mary’s Classic Tips:

* If your duck comes with the giblets, save them to make a flavoursome stock with the duck bones. It freezes well and can be used in place of the chicken stock used here. 

* Keep the duck fat – it’s great for flavoursome roast potatoes. 



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From the book: Classic by Mary Berry

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