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As promised in the last post on our trip to The Crown Inn in Amersham, the Smith Travel Blog is quivering with lip-licking delight to bring you Rosie Sykes’s exquisite duck recipe, exclusively from her manifesto for The Kitchen Revolution. We tried it over the weekend, and, though it didn’t quite produce the gustatory fireworks it did on Rosie’s watch, it still earned this Mr Smith a chapter in the good books on Valentine’s Day…

Roast duck, Seville oranges, celeriac mash

It’s worth pricking the skin of a duck prior to cooking to extract excess fat, thereby encouraging a crisp skin. For a 1.75kg bird the total cooking time, including 20 minutes at 220ºC/425ºF/gas mark 7, will be one hour and 10 minutes. for dDuck (not yet prepared)ifferent sized birds, cook for 45 minutes a kilo.

Roast duck with Seville oranges

1 medium–large duck, approx 1.75kg
3 medium onions, approx 660g
6 Seville oranges or other small juicy oranges
2 sprigs fresh sage
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

Celeriac mash

2.5kg–3kg celeriac (ideally 3–4 small celeriac, not much larger than cricket balls)
85g butter
Pinch of nutmeg


125–150kg watercress, approx 2 bunches


Cut the celeriac into quarters or halves

Peel and quarter one of the onions and slice the remaining ones

2 1/4 hours before you want to eat

  • Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/ gas mark 7Celeriac
  • Now prepare the celeriac. If using larger ones, cut into quarters or halves (unpeeled) and wrap each piece in foil with some salt and pepper. If using small celeriac, keep whole and wrap individually in foil. Place the celeriac on a baking sheet on the bottom of the oven; don’t worry about whether it has come up to temperature.
  • Prepare the duck by pricking the fatty areas of skin, particularly where the legs and the breast meat, with a small skewer. Season the duck thoroughly, especially with salt as this will help render the fat and crisp the skin.
  • Peel one of the onions and cut into quarters. Cut one of the oranges into quarters, and stuff this and the onion inside the duck cavity with a few torn-up sage leaves.
  • Place the duck in a roasting tin. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  • Peel and slice the remaining onions into 1.5cm thick slices. Cut two of the five remaining oranges into slices of a similar thickness and squeeze the juice from the other three.

1 1/2 hours before you want to eat

  • After the initial 20 minutes, remove the duck from the oven and lift the bird out of the roasting tin. Turn the oven down to 180ºC/350ºC/gas mark 4.
  • Drain the fat from the tin and chill. When it solidifies there will be a layer of cooking juices underneath which you should reserve for gravy. Arrange the sliced oranges and onions in the tin and scatter the thyme over. Return the duck to the tin. Cook for a further 30 minutes.

1 hour before you want to eat

  • Take the duck out of the oven and lift them from the tin. Drain off any fat again and stir the oranges and onions before adding half the orange juice.
  • Return the duck to the tin and cook for a final 20 minutes until the juices run clear when the thighs are pierced with a knife or skewer.

30 minutes before you want to eat mash the celeriac and make the gravySeville Oranges

  • Check the celeriac is ready – pierced with a knife there should be no resistance. Remove from the oven, unwrap and leave to cool for a moment.
  • When the duck has been cooked for a total of about one hour and 20 minutes, remove from the oven and rest for 20 minutes or so. Turn the oven off and put some plates and serving dishes in to warm.
  • Meanwhile, make the gravy. Pour off as much fat as you can from the roasting tin and place the tin on the hob (you may need to use two rings). Add enough water to just cover the orange and onion slices. Bring to the boil and stir very thoroughly to scrape the flavours from the bottom of the tin. Add any cooking juices from under the duck fat and the reserved orange juice and allow the gravy to simmer very gently until it reduces to a pouring consistency.
  • Meanwhile make the celeriac mash. Melt the butter in a large pan over a gentle heat. Pull the skins off the celeriac and add the flash to the melted butter. Mash or purée the celeriac with a hand blender. Add a good pinch of nutmeg and season to taste. Cover the lid and leave over a low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
  • Chop the remaining stage leaves then strain the gravy into a jug and stir in the sage.
  • Reserve 400g of the celeriac mash and put the remainder in a warmed serving dish. Place the watercress in a bowl.
  • Carve the duck and serve with lashings of gravy on top, and the celeriac mash and watercress on the side.
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