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.


  1. Veeery nice.

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

  2. gastrogeek

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

  3. That duck looks amazing, I just want to bite into it… 🙂

  4. JamesHether

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

    • gastrogeek

      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

    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

      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

      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. 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

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

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