Prep Time: 40 mins Cooking Time: 40 mins Serves: 2

I used to keep ducks on my farm in Venezuela and always got on better with them than my chickens. I’m still not sure if that’s why they were always tastier! Here’s one of my favourite ways of preparing duck. The cacao balances the flavour of the orange and the richness of the sauce so well.

willie's cacao recipes



3 tsp fine sea salt

1 oven-ready wild duck

Small bunch of fresh thyme

1 tbsp butter 8 shallots, peeled

250ml duck or chicken stock

1 orange

1 tbsp Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, or good quality balsamic vinegar

10g 100% cacao. Suggestion, Venezuelan  Rio Caribe 100% cacao

1 heaped tsp quince or redcurrant jelly



Preheat the oven to 190°C. Rub the salt all over skin of the duck and place the thyme in the body cavity.

Melt the butter in a roasting tin over a medium heat. Add the duck with the shallots and cook, turning regularly, until browned all over.

Place in the hot oven and cook for 30 minutes if you like the meat rare, or 40 minutes for a medium-cooked bird. Don’t overcook. Wild duck that is well done can be a little dry and tough.

While the duck is cooking, pour the stock into a saucepan and add a few strips of orange peel and the balsamic vinegar. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Take the cooked duck out of the oven and transfer to a warm dish along with the shallots. Cover loosely with foil, and leave in a warm place to rest while you make the gravy. Tip out any excess fat from the roasting tin.

Place the tin over a medium heat and pour in the prepared stock, stirring to scrap up any brown caramelized bits off the base of the tin. Strain back into a fresh saucepan and stir in the cacao and redcurrant jelly. Place over a low heat and cook, stirring, until the cacao and redcurrant jelly melts. If necessary, cook a little longer to thicken slightly, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Add a squeeze or two of fresh orange juice, according to taste.

Divide the duck in half by cutting through the breastbone and place each piece on a warm serving plate. Pour a little hot gravy around the duck and serve the rest of the gravy separately in a warmed jug. Garnish with a few strips of orange zest and serve with mashed potato and a selection of steamed vegetables.

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Prep Time Cooking Time
2 hrs + 2 hrs


Prep Time Cooking Time
40 mins 1 hr 40 mins

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Prep Time Cooking Time
5 mins 5 mins


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