Winter Warmers: Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamy Parsnips and Gravy

Winter Warmers: Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamy Parsnips and Gravy

Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamy Parsnips and Gravy

Duck is full of flavour and much easier to cook than a big bird – a great option if you’re cooking for a small group of people. You could serve this dish with some roast potatoes. Serves 2–4.

What you'll need

  • 1 duck, weighing 1.8–2 kg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 6 tablespoons honey, for basting
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 300 ml chicken stock, simmering

For the parsnips

  • duck stock (optional)
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 60 ml cream


Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Dry the outside of the duck with kitchen paper and season inside and out. Using a skewer, lightly prick the skin where it’s most fatty, being careful not to pierce the flesh. This ensures that, when roasted, the duck fat will run but the meat will retain its lovely juices. Place the bay leaves, garlic and thyme into the cavity and place the duck on a wire rack over a roasting tray.

Roast the duck in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and roast for a further 50–60 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the parsnips. Place the parsnips in a large pan of boiling water (or duck stock, if using). Cook for 15–20 minutes, until tender. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Tip the cooked parsnips and a little cooking water into a food processor. Blitz to make a smooth purée. Add the cream, season and blitz again until combined. Keep the parsnips warm until serving.

The duck will need to be basted during the final 30 minutes of roasting. Remove it from the oven every 5 minutes or so and spread about a tablespoon of honey all over the duck (make sure you close the oven door while basting, so no heat escapes!). After 50 minutes of roasting, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the duck leg. If the juices run clear, it’s done; if the juices are still pink, return the duck to the oven for another 10 minutes. Once the duck is cooked, tilt it to release any juices from inside the cavity into the roasting tray. Remove the duck to a warm plate, cover with foil and leave to rest.

Now make the gravy. Remove the wire rack from the roasting tray. Carefully pour off any fat from the tray into a heatproof bowl, leaving the brown juices in the tray. Place the tray on the hob over a medium heat. Add the red wine, simmer and scrape the bottom of the tray to release all the nice caramelised bits. Add the stock and simmer until it reduces into a rich gravy. Season to taste, then strain through a sieve into a serving jug.

Carve the duck and divide the meat among warmed serving plates, alongside the creamy parsnips and gravy.

Sophie Kooks by Sophie Morris (the co-founder of Kooky Dough) is published by Gill & MacMillan and available at good book shops nationwide now, priced at €22.99. 

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