Roast Chicken & Duck

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  • Simon Hopkinson

Everyone knows that Simon Hopkinson, formerly chef of London's Bibendum Restaurant, produced one of the best ever chef's books when he collaborated with Lindsey Bareham to produce “Roast Chicken and Other Stories”.
Fewer people know that when Simon produced “Second Helpings of Roast Chicken” that he produced one of the worst-written cookery books of all time, a turgid trawl through banal musings, interspersed with some good recipes. He should have brought Lindsey along for the ride one more time...
However, the food is frequently good, especially this recipe for roast duck, which he admits comes from Mrs Hogg of The Haven, Gressingham. As duck is such a divil to cook right – get off the fat, crisp the skin, don't overcook it, keep the flavour – this is an invaluable technique:
you just pre-heat the oven to 190c, rub the duck with salt, and put it into the oven with the cooking rack slanted steeply so that the cooking fat drips down into a deep cooking tray below. Now, with the parson's nose pointing slanting downwards, cook it for 3 hours, removing the fat occasionally so that it doesn't splash all over the oven. If you have a nice West Cork Skeghanore duck, then you will have the heart and giblets, and use these to make a stock, which you combine with the scrapings in the pan after all the fat has been poured off, and there is your gravy.
Some fresh new spuds go well, and we used some grown by John Kelly of Cappanaparka, on the Beara Peninsula, bought in Organico in Bantry where you will know them by their cute little label which also has John's contact number: 087 6317552, should you wish to buy some direct.
Simple, delicious, zero work, that's the stuff, and thanks to Simon and Mrs Hogg.