Recipe: Alan Rosenthal’s spiced duck pot roast

Alan Rosenthal started the business Stewed! from his Bounds Green home. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Alan Rosenthal started the business Stewed! from his Bounds Green home. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Find out about the one-pot king behind Stewed! and try his delicious spiced sweet and sour pot roast.

Bounds Green resident Alan Rosenthal, who grew up in Child’s Hill, first got the idea for his business while commuting to work on the circle line.

He started out selling his homemade hearty stews at Alexandra Palace Farmer’s Market, which led to them being stocked in local branches of Budgens in Crouch End and Belsize Park. Later came orders from Ocado, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. His well researched recipes are based around regional cuisines including Moroccan chicken stew with olives and preserved lemons and chorizo chickpea and pork stew flavoured with smoked paprika.

The success of Stewed! led to a book deal with Ebury press to write cook books starting with Stewed! and now Ultimate One-Pot Dishes (Ebury £9.99) which features mouthwatering recipes for Catalan fish stew, beef stifado tomatican with pork and sweetcorn and spiced duck. (see below) These days he is also a cookery tutor at both Leith’s School of Food and Wine and our own JW3 in Finchley Road. He is also food director at Picturehouse Cinemas including the newly opened Crouch End Picturehouse, in a bid to lift movie-going cuisine above popcorn and hot dogs.

Details at


with red cabbage and grapes

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Braised red cabbage goes fantastically well with duck so I decided to combine the two in this spiced sweet and sour pot roast. Go for duck legs and thighs rather than breast as these will stay more succulent.

Serves 4

400g red cabbage, tough core

removed and sliced into long strips

2 onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled,

cored and roughly chopped

180g seedless grapes

50g dried cranberries (or 65g fresh)

1 pinch each of ground cloves,

cinnamon and nutmeg

100ml red wine

3 tbsp sherry vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 duck legs, thighs attached

Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Fan 150ºC/gas mark 3. In a large, flameproof casserole dish that has a lid, mix together all the ingredients except the duck along with generous pinches of salt and a few grinds of a pepper mill.

Put the dish on a low heat on the hob to get things bubbling, then pop in the oven, lid on, for 1.⁄₂ hours. Give everything a stir a couple of times during the cooking time.

Meanwhile, trim the duck legs of excess skin or fat and score the surface of the skin with a sharp knife, taking care not to pierce the flesh, only the skin. (Scoring helps the fat to be released and encourages browning.) Season the duck with salt and black pepper and in a dry non-stick frying pan, brown the pieces of duck on a medium heat, skin-side down.

Don’t crowd the pan, so do it in batches. The duck will release a lot of fat, so drain it off as you go (keep in the fridge for delicious roast potatoes) and continue browning for about 7 minutes until most of the fat has rendered and the skin side is a deep golden brown.

Quickly seal the other side for a couple of minutes and set aside.

After 1.⁄₂ hours cooking remove the cabbage from the oven and place the browned duck pieces skin-side up on top of the mixture. Place the dish back in the oven, covered, for a further 1.⁄₂ hours until most of the liquid in the pot has reduced.

Give the cabbage under the duck a little stir or shake a few times during cooking.

Add a little more salt if you think it needs it. Serve with sautéed potatoes.