Let's Eat

Duck saucery - three simple sauces

A trio of delicious dishes made from store cupboard staples


Here are some super easy store cupboard sauces that can be knocked together very quickly.  All of them freeze extremely well and the cherry sauce will keep for weeks in the refrigerator as it doesn’t contain any stock. 

Orange Sauce
Zest and flesh of one orange
200ml orange juice
150ml chicken stock
2 tbsp orange marmalade
Freshly ground black pepper and salt
Few sprigs thyme
2-3 tsp cornflour or potato flour
1 good splash brandy, Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Sabra liqueur - optional


  • Top and tail the orange by slicing off a thin disk. Use a swivel bladed potato peeler to take thin strips of the orange zest from the orange and cut into fine matchsticks.  Try to avoid getting any of the white pith as it will make the sauce bitter.
  • Put the orange on a board on one of the flat ends and slice away the pith and membrane with a sharp or serrated knife.
  • Remove the segments of orange by cutting in between the membrane.
  • Squeeze the left over membrane over a medium saucepan to catch the juice and then discard the membrane and pith.
  • Add the marmalade, shredded zest, juice and stock and thyme to the pan and cook over a medium heat until the marmalade has melted.  Increase the heat and cook for five minutes so the zest can soften. 
  • Fish out the thyme stalks with a fork or a pair of tongs and then add the alcohol if using. 
  • Thicken the sauce to your desired consistency by slaking the cornflour (mix it to a paste with a little water) and adding it to your sauce, whisking or stirring it in briskly so there are no lumps.
  • Season to taste with pepper and a little salt if required.  Reduce the heat to a bare simmer and add the orange segments to warm through. 
  • Spoon over the duck to glaze and serve the rest in a jug or bowl.

Cherry Sauce
1 tin of black cherries or (in summer time) one small punnet cherries, de stoned plus 150ml  of cherry or cranberry juice.
1/2 jar morello cherry jam
1/2 star anise
2cm cinnamon stick
Small glass Port or Palwin kiddush wine
Freshly ground black pepper
Maldon salt
2-3 tsp cornflour or potato flour

Strain the tinned cherries into a pan and add the jam, star anise, cinnamon and alcohol.   Alternatively use 150ml cherry or cranberry juice.  Heat gently to melt the jam and then increase the heat to reduce the liquid.  Fish out the whole spices and then thicken with the slaked cornflour. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and then stir in the cherries to heat through for a few minutes and soften a little. 

Ginger, lemon honey and thyme glaze

1 tbsp ginger preserve
1 tbsp honey
Leaves from two sprigs fresh thyme
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
Maldon salt


  • Melt the ginger and honey in a small saucepan with the thyme leaves. 
  • Add lemon juice to taste and then reduce to a syrupy consistently.  Season and spoon over the duck to glaze.
  • This glaze can be given an Asian inspired twist by replacing the thyme with a few pinches of five spice powder and replacing the lemon juice with lime.  It is delicious on medium rare duck breasts. 
  • Add a few slices of red chilli and some sesame seeds to give it a kick, spoon over the duck and put it back in a hot oven or under a hot grill for 3-5 minutes to caramelise and serve with noodles and some stir fry tenderstem broccoli or pak choi.

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