If you’re looking for something a bit different this winter, look no further than Claus Meyer’s recipe for Roasted Duck with Prunes, Baked Apples and Gravy. Enjoy beautifully crispy skin and rich hearty flavours in half the time it takes to roast a turkey.
1 duck, about 3–3.5kg
sea salt flakes
1kg apples, such as Cox or Belle de Boskoop
500g whole pitted prunes
4 thyme sprigs, chopped
freshly ground pepper
40g plain flour
1.5 litres water
a little cider vinegar or other
light fruit vinegar
a little sugar or Apple Gastrique
Wipe both the cavity and outside of the duck with kitchen paper and then rub both with salt. Wash the apples, cut them into quarters and remove the cores, then cut them into large cubes. Mix with the prunes, chopped thyme, salt and pepper. Stuff the duck with the fruit mixture – it is important that you stuff it as full as possible, as the filling helps to retain the juices and thereby prevent the meat from becoming dry. Tie the thighs tightly up against the breast with kitchen string, which will help to keep the breast fillets nice and juicy as well.
Place the bird, breast side up, on an oven or roasting rack with a roasting tin containing the duck’s neck, wing tips and giblets underneath. Brown in a preheated oven at 250°C/Gas Mark 10 (or your highest Gas Mark setting) for 15 minutes. Remove the roasting tin from the oven, add the flour to the tin and turn all the duck pieces around a few times so that all the fat is absorbed by the flour. Pour the measured water into the roasting tin and put back underneath the duck. Turn the oven down to 150°C/ Gas Mark 2 and roast for another 2–2 ½ hours. The duck is ready when the skin is beautifully golden and crisp and the thigh meat is creeping up the bone, which, by the way, should be about to fall off by itself.
Take the duck out of the oven and leave to rest for 20–25 minutes before you start carving it. Meanwhile, strain the gravy from the roasting tin into a saucepan – the flour you added earlier will have thickened the juices into a sauce. If there is excess fat on top, skim it off (you can save it and use it another time). Adjust the consistency of the sauce, if necessary, and season with a little vinegar and sugar or Apple Gastrique, along with some salt and pepper, until it is just as good as your mother’s gravy.
Cut the bird into 8 pieces (4 breasts, 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks) and serve it with the fruit stuffing, gravy and boiled, browned or butter-fried potatoes or whatever you usually eat with roast duck. Red cabbage is probably just about mandatory.
Extracted from The Nordic Family Kitchen by Claus Meyer. Available here.