No Christmas Eve without traditional good Danish Christmas food. And this delicious, long roasted duck with crispy skin and tender and juicy meat will be on our Christmas table this year. This duck is long roasted for 3 hours at 160C/320F. And even though it may sound like a long time, I promise that you get the most delicious and tender meat when cooked for a long time.
The Christmas table must be covered with Christmas foods. So far, Danes agree on the Christmas traditions. 84% of Danes eat roasted duck on Christmas Eve, while 74% stick to the crispy roast pork. These two dishes are actually by far the most popular on the Christmas Eve dinner table.
A little history about Christmas in Denmark
The Danish Christmas is an ancient tradition, which dates back to the Viking Age. 1000 years ago, Denmark was not yet a Christian country; they were a country full of harsh Vikings. The Vikings held big parties in December, celebrating that the light would soon return and that they can soon enjoy the warmth of spring. They drank beer in jars at the feast and ate until they were about to burst while shouting and toasting against the sky to honor their gods; Odin and Thor, etc.
Christian missionaries from Europe later defeated the Vikings. Denmark became Christian, and therefore the celebrations in December also became Christian. Now, Odin and Thor were no longer celebrated, but the birth of Jesus Christ. Even though the celebrations were now Christian, the festivities were still called ‘Christmas.’
Christmas is about being together and about having fun. We dress up, sing songs, play, cook, and eat food and sweets while having fun with family and friends.
If you are in charge of Christmas food for the first time, stick to making long roasted duck. Then it should probably work. And if you buy a frozen duck, remember to thaw it for 2 days in the refrigerator.
Info about the roasting time
- A duck of 2 kilos should be roast for about 2 hours
- A duck of 2.5 kilos should be roast for about 2.5 hours
- A duck of 3 kilos should be roast for about 3 hours
In short, the cooking time for duck is about 30 minutes per half a kilo.
I stuff my duck with apples and prunes, which gives the juiciest duck meat and a nice taste. On the other hand, we rarely eat the filling, but you can easily do that.
The core temperature in a roasted duck must be 75C/167F. Then you are sure of a tender and juicy duck that is not dry.
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You will need:
- 1 duck of approx. 3 kilos
- 2 to 3 apples, slice into boats
- 300 grams prunes
- olive oil
- rock salt
For the brown duck sauce
- 500 to 1000 ml duck stock, this liquid is from the roasting pan
- 2 to 3 tbsp duck fat
- 1 to 2 tbsp butter, optional
- 3 to 4 tbsp plain flour
- 1 to 2 tsp duck bouillon (I’m using duck bouillon powder)
- 50 ml of heavy cream
- brown sauce color
- 2 tsp currant jelly
- salt and pepper, to taste
- plain and brown boiled potatoes
- brown sauce
- pickled red cabbage
- potato chips
- red wine or Christmas beer 😉
Roasting the duck
- Take the duck out of the fridge about 1 hour before baking, and let it stand and dry before putting it in the oven.
- Preheat oven (with fan) to 160C/230F.
- Cut the apples into boats and place the prunes on a plate.
- Place a rack on top of the roasting pan and pour 1 liter of water into it. We will use this liquid for making the sauce later.
- Rinse and clean the duck thoroughly, rinse it well both inside and out and make sure to remove impurities and blood residue. Some ducks here in Denmark are already clean; you only need to remove the small bag of neck and entrails inside the duck. You can use it for making your homemade duck fond. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Rub the duck with olive oil, then season it both inside and outside with salt, fill with apples and prunes. Close it with a pair of meat needles and tie, if necessary, so that the filling does not fall out during roasting.
- Place the duck on a rack with the breast facing down and place it in the oven. Let it cook for 3 hours. But after 1 hour, turn the duck, breast facing upward, and pour the liquid in the roasting pan into a bowl. Pour new water into the roasting pan and roast for the last 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, we can prepare the brown duck sauce. Please refer to the procedure below.
- The core temperature in a roast duck should be 75C/167F, so use a frying thermometer. And remember that it is the core temperature that determines when your meat is finished cooking, not the time.
- Take the duck out of the oven, pour the water on the bowl, and let it rest uncovered for about 20 minutes before cutting.
- Take the filling out, place it on a plate, serve it if you want, and then slice the duck into serving sizes.
Making the sauce
- Place a sieve over a bowl, pour the duck stock, and let it stand for 10 minutes. Remove some of the duck fat on the surface with a spoon and place into a saucepan.
- Heat the duck fat and butter; if using, to a simmer, add flour and cook it well through over medium heat while whisking until light brown. Adjust the color by adding some drops of brown sauce color.
- Smooth the sauce by adding the duck stock and heavy cream little by a little while stirring.
- Taste the sauce with duck bouillon, salt, pepper, and currant jelly.
- Roast duck is served with plain, brown, and French potato chips, the brown Christmas sauce, red cabbage, pickled red cabbage, and a nice glass of strong red wine or Christmas beer.