Roast Duck A La Yuzu

There’s no anticipation quite like the build up of a long, languid roast, and for me that’s especially the case when we’re talking roast duck. This one gently crisps up for a good five hours, which might sound a bit time guzzling, but apart from the odd bit of turning and prodding, you can pretty much leave it alone.

I picked up a bottle of yuzu juice (that distinctive, mandarin-grapefruit like citrus) in the Japan centre the other day and had the remnants of a jar of yujacha* knocking around, so decided to experiment with a modern twist on the classic duck a l’orange. The slow roasting resulted in ultra tender meat and conker-coloured skin, while the aromatic citrus scythed through those crisp lipids beautifully with just the perfect degree of acidity  (you can buy yuzu online here, but I’m sure a juicy blob of good old Seville marmalade and some pink grapefruit juice would also be a brilliant substitute). The sauce a la yuzu is sweet, sharp, savoury and salty all at once, in that maddeningly addictive drink-it-straight- from-the-pan kind of way.

*Yujacha is a marmalade type drink from Korea made with yuzu and sugar or honey and diluted with hot water to make fruit tea.


One duck, giblets removed

1 or 2 onions, peeled and studded with a few cloves

Fresh ginger


1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp chilli sauce

5-6 tsp yuzu juice/pink grapefruit juice

½ pint chicken stock

2 tsp cornflour

3 tsp honey

1 tbsp yujacha, plus 2 tsp for the sauce


  • Wash and dry the duck thoroughly. Lightly score diamonds through the fat.
  • Stud an onion or two with cloves, and roughly hack up a fat finger of ginger –stuff these in the cavity.
  • Salt liberally and snip off any excess fat from the extremities. Place in a rack in a roasting tray and roast at 150C/300F/gas mark 2 for an hour.
  • Prick all over and turn the bird over. Repeat for about 4 hours, until crisp and brown all over.
  • Drain off the fat, and reserve for roasting vegetables, smothering on toast etc.
  • Gently heat a tablespoon of sugar in a thick-based pan until it turns to a rich mahogany caramel.
  • Add a teaspoon of rice vinegar, one of chilli sauce and about 5-6 teaspoons of yuzu.
  • Add half a pint of chicken stock and whisk in a teaspoon or two of cornflour. Stir and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon (you might want to add a bit of soy at this point, but I found my stock was salty enough). Stir in the honey and two teaspoons of yujicha/marmalade.
  • For the final hour, the breast should be face up. Turn the heat up to about 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for ten minutes or so, just to ensure a good depth of colour.
  • Brush liberally with the yujicha/marmalade, turn the oven down a little and continue to roast for 30 minutes (make sure the glaze doesn’t burn).
  • Rest for 15 minutes and serve with plenty of sauce and some nice green vegetables.
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12 Comments on “Roast Duck A La Yuzu”

  1. Food Urchin says:

    Veeery nice.

    And you ended up dribbling loads didn’t you, go on admit it.

  2. gastrogeek says:

    Ummmm, ok yes, maybe a little bit…those crackers were a great help though. Thanks for the tip off FU!

  3. Hanna says:

    That duck looks amazing, I just want to bite into it… :)

  4. JamesHether says:

    Jesus this sounds amazing. And the kind of thing that would make people go “really? marmalade???”. Love the double duck photo too btw :)!

    • gastrogeek says:

      cheers James, I think it might actually be a goose you know – part of a birthday measuring cup pressie. Dead cute in’t it?!

  5. SarahT says:

    Three of my best things: duck, marmalade and not too difficult. I love duck but always get scared about cooking it. I reckon I’m going to have to give this a try though!

    • gastrogeek says:

      thanks Sarah – I know what you mean, but this is seriously such a doddle, and definitely well worth it!

  6. Stunning! Love the idea of substituting the grapefruit and marmalade for yuzu. No excuses for not pulling this together now.

    • gastrogeek says:

      aww cheers Tori! It sounds a bit out there, but definitely works. There’s a slight bitter-sour note in yuzu which is perfect for the rich, fatty duck meat. Would love to hear how you get on!

  7. Niamh says:

    Lovely lovely idea. I am a very big fan of slow roast anything, and definitely slow roast duck. Now, wonder how this would work with the blood orange marmalade I have in my kitchen? Must try!

    • gastrogeek says:

      Thanks :-) Blood orange marmalade sounds like it would definitely work, now that’s what I call a genius idea!

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