1 large, fresh duck, with neck and giblets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1 kg Maris Piper potatoes
100 g duck or goose fat
For the gravy:
Duck neck and giblets, and wing tips.
1 small onion
1 celery stick
A little oil
1 bay leaf
1 small glass of red wine.
1/2 tsp redcurrant jelly
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 8. If the duck is tied up, cut the strings and gently pull the legs apart, away from the body. This will help the heat to get at them. Cut off the wing tips put into a frying pan with the roughly chopped up neck and giblets, plus the onion, carrot and celery. Fry these over a fair heat in a little oil until the meat is nicely browned and the vegetables slightly caramalised. Transfer to a saucepan with the bay leaf, cover with 600 ml water and bring to a simmer. Leave at a gentle simmer for about 1 1/2 hours (the time it takes to cook the duck).
Remove any obvious spare fat from inside the duck cavity. Turn the duck breast-side down on a board and press hard on the middle of the backbone until you hear a crack, it means that when you turn the bird breast-side up again it sits flatter in the pan, which helps it to cook more evenly. Prick the skin with a carving fork or metal skewer all over the fatty parts at the breast and where the breast joins the leg. Don’t prick deeper than is necessary just to pierce the skin. You want the fat to run, but not the juices from the meat. Season the skin lightly with salt and pepper and rub in well.
Put the bird in a roasting tin. Place into oven for about 20 minutes, so the fat starts to run. Then turn the oven down to 180°C/gas 4, baste the bird and return to the oven. Baste the duck every 20 minutes or so. Check the bird after about 1 1/2 hours’. Poke a skewer into the thickest part of the leg, close to the breast. When the juices runs clear, the bird is done. Tip the bird to pour any fat or juices out of the cavity into the roasting tin and transfer it to a warmed plate to rest and cover with foil.
Put your duck or goose fat into a roasting tray and into the oven 45 minutes after the duck has gone in. Peel the potatoes and cut each one into 4 even sized pieces. Par boil for about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander then given them a shake to “rough them up” on the outside. Take out your melted fat from the oven and carefully put your potatoes into the tray with a slotted spoon. Put the whole lot back into the oven. When you baste your duck give the potatoes a little shake or turn them over. When the duck comes out of the oven to rest, turn up the heat to 220C/gas 8 again and give the potatoes a final blast until lovely and crispy.
Carefully pour off the fat from the roasting tin into a heatproof bowl or dish, leaving the brown juices in the tin. Deglaze the tin with the red wine, scraping to release the tasty browned bits in the bottom of the pan the put into a saucepan. Strain the stock into the same pan, and boil hard to reduce to a rich, syrupy gravy. Taste for seasoning, and add a little redcurrant jelly for sweetness.