- 1 free-range whole duck, about 2-2.5kg (4½-5½lb)
- for the chutney
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 350g jar morello cherries in syrup
- 50ml (2fl oz) balsamic vinegar
- 50g (2oz) dried sour cherries
- 1 star anise
Pierce the skin of the duck all over with a skewer. Place the duck on a rack in the kitchen sink, and pour over 2 full kettles of boiling water. Pat it dry with kitchen roll, and leave uncovered in the fridge for an hour. This is to release the fat under the skin of the duck, so you will end up with a crisp, not fatty result.
Heat the oven to 200 C, 180 C fan, 400 F, gas 6. Place the duck on a rack or trivet over a deep roasting tin to catch all the fat. Season with plenty of sea salt and roast for 1 hour 30 minutes. Strain off the fat and keep it for fabulous roast potatoes. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
While the duck is cooking, make the chutney. Heat the oil in a saucepan and soften the onion over a low heat for 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, including the syrup from the cherries. Bring to a simmer, and bubble gently on a low heat for 40 minutes. This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week.
To serve the duck, don’t try to carve it – it’s too small. The best way, which is easy and ensures the minimum of waste is like this: turn the duck over and, with a good pair of kitchen scissors, cut either side of the backbone and remove it. Now turn the duck back over and flatten it slightly (like spatchcocking a chicken). Remove the legs as you would on a chicken. Now remove the breast – with a sharp knife cut along either side of the breastbone, keeping your knife close to the bone, and ease the breast meat away from the bone. Slice the breast on a board. Serve with buttered savoy cabbage and sautéed potatoes. A duck will serve between 2 to 4 depending on size and appetite, but any leftover leg meat can be shredded and served in a delicious salad. Leftover chutney is great with mature Cheddar or cold ham.