Roast Duck with Braised Red Cabbage and Bread Sauce

Roast duck is a bit small for a family Christmas dinner, but it makes the perfect choice if you re only cooking for two or three, or if you just want to enjoy some festive food ahead of 25 December. These dishes are full of warm Christmas spices and will make your house smell wonderful, the duck and cabbage are also perfect for putting in the oven and ignoring, so you can take the dog for a wet walk and come back to a lovely roast meal.


  1. 1 (2 kg) whole duck
  2. 1/2 nutmeg
  3. 1 orange
  4. dried sage
  5. olive oil
  6. salt white and black pepper
  7. leftover mashed potato (optional)
  8. 1 red cabbage stem removed and sliced
  9. 1 large red onion peeled and sliced
  10. 3 apples peeled and roughly chopped
  11. 1 clove garlic peeled and thinly sliced
  12. 1/4 nutmeg grated
  13. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  14. 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  15. 2-3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  16. 3 tbsp wine vinegar
  17. 2 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry sauce
  18. 600 ml whole milk
  19. 50 g butter
  20. 1 onion peeled and cut in half
  21. 6 cloves
  22. 1 bayleaf
  23. 100 g white breadcrumbs
  24. 2 tbsp double cream (optional)
  25. salt and white and black pepper


  1. Change The duck and the cabbage take about the same amount of time and after the first 20 minutes can cook in the same oven They can also sit a while after being cooked giving you time to make any accompanying vegetables (like duck-fat roasted potatoes and parsnips) and the bread sauce So get organised before you begin cooking and prep in advance Grate the orange zest and nutmeg and mix with a couple of teaspoons of dried sage Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7
  2. Change I had some leftover mashed potato from the day before and a classic stuffing for roast duck is potato-based so I thought Id try it out but its completely optional I mixed it with some dried sage and white pepper and pushed it into the ducks cavity together with a peeled onion (also optional)
  3. Change Rub a little olive oil over the duck and then sprinkle the nutmeg orange and sage mixture over the top Add lots of black pepper and salt Place in the preheated oven
  4. Change Now put together the braised cabbage if youre going to be around you can cook it on the stove top or cook with the duck once the oven has been turned down Prepare the cabbage onion apples and garlic and in a small bowl mix together the nutmeg cinnamon cloves and brown sugar together with some salt
  5. Change Layer a third of the cabbage in the pan or casserole add a third of the onions apple garlic and sugar and spice mixture
  6. Change Repeat the layers until everything is used up then pour in the wine vinegar (red or white) Dot the top with butter and cover with a tight fitting lid
  7. Change After 20 minutes in the oven at the high heat the duck will need to have some of the fat drained off into a heatproof bowl Keep this for roast potatoes Return the duck to the oven and cook on for another 10 minutes then drain off the fat again if necessary You can then add a glass of dry vermouth or white wine or water if you want to this stops the roasting pan burning and helps the meat juices collect for gravy
  8. Change Return the duck to the oven and reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4 Add the cabbage if youre cooking in the oven or place the pan on a low heat on the stove top In a small pan infuse the milk for the bread sauce together with the butter onion cloves bayleaf and black and white pepper Bring slowly to a simmer then cover and remove from the heat
  9. Change Go for a walk for an hour and a half
  10. Change When the duck is golden and crispy and the flesh on the thigh is tender when you pinch it its done It can now sit and rest while you prepare your vegetables and finish the bread sauce Drain the milk into a clean pan and discard the onion and flavourings Add the breadcrumbs to the milk and cook over a low heat stirring from time to time for 4–5 minutes then cover and set aside
  11. Change Add the redcurrant or cranberry sauce to the red cabbage and check the seasoning Make gravy with the meat juices if you wish Stir in the cream to the bread sauce transfer to a bowl and add a knob of butter Serve the duck with the cabbage and bread sauce and vegetables

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