FOUR DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS
I'm including this because it's what I would want to eat with Iona Pinot Noir 2015. Juliette and Jacqui, my trusty advisors who know much more about food and wine pairing than I do, tell me it should be seared Salmon – no question. But I'm writing this so I get to choose.
The truth of the matter is I have never cooked a duck (except a wild one someone once shot on our dam, and then gifted to me, and which despite lengthy hanging time on our back verandah, more lengthy cooking at extremely low temperature and much basting, it was as tough as old takkie ... so I choose not to count that.) I found this recipe in Darra Goldstein's beautiful Nordic cook book called Fire and Ice. I have made a few adjustments in terms of measurements only – South African ducks average around 1.5 kgs while the original calls for a 6 pound duck! The title also just sounded so Christmassy I couldn't help myself but if the whole thing looks too daunting just run with the Salmon ...
P.S: I made this last night – it's dead easy and delicious and really does go with Pinot Noir!
1 free range duck (1.5kg approximately)
2 firm apples, peeled and cut into 16 wedges
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups apple cider
2 teaspoons flour
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C.
Remove the extra fat from the duck along with the neck, and gizzard if not already trimmed. Cut off the wing tips.
Rub the inside of the duck with salt and then with the lemon, squeezing the juice into the cavity. Stuff the duck at both ends with the apples and prunes.
Sew or truss cavities closed. I actually found a darning needle and did this – it works like a bomb and looks really smart!
Rub the outside of the duck generously with salt and pepper.
Place on a rack in a roasting pan breast side down.
Roast for 10 minutes.
Turn over and roast for a further 10 minutes to allow some of the fat to cook off.
Lower the oven to 170 degrees C and add the apple cider to the roasting tray.
Roast the duck until the juices run rosy when the meat is pricked, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Raise the oven temperature to 230 degrees C and roast the duck for another 10 minutes to crisp the skin.
Transfer the duck onto a platter and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile skim all the fat off the pan juices.
Deglaze the pan and add to the pan juices.
Melt a small blob of butter, add 2 teaspoons of flour and then whisk in the warm juices to make a thin gravy.
Scoop the apples and prunes out of the duck and transfer to a serving bowl.
Serve the sliced duck with the fruit stuffing and a pitcher of gravy.
The truth of the matter is I have never cooked a duck. I'm including this because it's what I would want to eat with Iona Pinot Noir 2015.