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Traditional Danish slow-roasted duck

Sunday was Mortens Aften (Morten’s Evening) here in Denmark. It’s the evening before Morten’s Day, and on this evening it’s tradition to eat roasted duck served with boiled potatoes, browned sugar potatoes, red cabbage and – off course – duck sauce.

It’s one of those traditions that people don’t know the reason for. I had invited seven guests, and only one knew the story. Here it is:

Saint Morten was a bishop in Tours, France (around year 371). The legend says, that he did not want to be become a bishop, so he hid in a goose sty, when people went looking for him. The geese made a lot of noise, and Morten was found and made bishop. It’s said that he as the bishop ordered  geese to be killed and eaten every year for their betrayal.  In the 17 century people ate goose, but today it’s duck. Probably because its easier to get a hold of duck, and the size is more fitting for a family meal. On the evening of november 10, Sweden and Germany also celebrate Morten’s Evening.

It was my first time ever roasting a duck, and I think I probably read 10 different recipes, before I started. I wanted to make sure, that my duck would be delicious. I’ve had dry duck meat before, and that’s no fun. This recipe, however, is amazing. The ducks (yes, two ducks!!) were moist, and the skin crispy.

One duck can feed 4-5 people, which is why I had to roast two ducks. I roasted one on saturday, carved it, sealed it and put n in the fridge. When the other duck got out of the oven and had to rest for 20 minutes, the duck from saturday was heating up in the oven.

 That’s actually a great way to do it, if you’re in a hurry before dinner time. Just make the duck beforehand and rehat it for 20 minutes at 200 degrees celsius (390 F).

In Denmark, the duck is stuffed with prunes and sliced apple boats. Some also put a red onion inside. Whatever you choose, just make sure to put stuff something insid. Otherwise the duck WILL get dry.

If you’re not sure how to carve a duck, you can watch this tutorial, which I used

I forgot to take a picture of the duck sauce (!), but it was a BIG hit with the guests. And you can’t eat duck without the duck sauce…

This duck was a great success, and I had such a great night hosting Morten’s Evening with my family and friends. I really should roast a duck more often…

Traditional Danish slow-roasted duck with duck sauce 2013-11-11 13:14:55 Serves 4

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Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
7 hr

Total Time
7 hr 35 min

Prep Time
20 min

Cook Time
7 hr

Total Time
7 hr 35 min

  • 1 duck (please, please buy free-range or organic)
  • 200 grams prunes (about 1 cup)
  • 2 apples (preferably sour)
  • 1 red onion
  • salt
  • Pepper



  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 T thyme
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 50 grams butter
  • 3 T all-purpose flour



  • Preheat oven to 110 degrees celsius (210 F).
  • Remove intestines from the duck and break/cut off the outer part of the wings. Place thighs in a baking pan.
  • Give the duck a good rub of salt both inside and out. Use more salt than you think you should.
  • Stuff the duck with prunes, apples and onion.
  • Put carrots, garlic, onion, thyme and olive oil in the baking pan with the chicken wings and pour over water.
  • Place the baking pan in the oven and put the duck on a wire rack in the oven just over the baking pan, so the fat can drip into the water.
  • Let the duck roast for 7 hours. It’s done, when the duck thighs easily losen, when you try to pull them away from the body.
  • If the skin is not crispy, turn the oven to 225 celsius and roast for 10 minutes. Keep a good eye on the duck, though.
  • Remove duck from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes covered in tin foil.
  • Meanwhile, in a pan, heat the butter. When bubbly, whisk i the flour and let it get golden.
  • Place a strainer over the pan and pour the content from the baking pan through it. Whisk away! If the sauce is to thick, you can add a little milk and whisk till you get the consistency, you want.
  • Carve duck and serve with the prunes and apples, that were inside the duck and pour duck sauce over!



  • Traditional Danish duck is served with boiled white potatoes, browned sugar potatoes and braised red cabbage.