Roast duck with wild rice
- December 2014
- Serves 4-6
- Hands-on time 1 hour, oven time 1 hour, plus overnight soaking and drying
Find out how to cook a whole duck to crisp-skinned perfection with Debbie Major’s roast duck recipe. She serves hers with a pilaf of nutty wild rice, dotted with dried fruit, toasted pecans, crunchy apple and celery. It makes a wonderful Christmas duck recipe too, if you fancy a change from traditional turkey.
And for starters? Our duck rillettes recipe shows you how to confit duck legs for a rich but spectacular nibble or starter.
- 30.2g (7.6g saturated)
- 59.5g (37g sugars)
- 2kg oven-ready free-range duck (see know-how)
For the wild rice
- 150g wild rice
- 500ml chicken stock
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 25g butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 medium celery sticks, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 100g pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 100g mixed dried berries (such as sour cherries, blueberries and golden raisins)
- 100g dried apricots, chopped
- 1 large red dessert apple, cut into small pieces (or see tip)
- 175-200g celery heart and leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
For the sour cranberry sauce
- 75g dried cranberries
- 300ml fruity red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
- 25g white sugar
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp arrowroot
- The night before you plan to cook the duck, dry it well with kitchen paper, then put it on a roasting rack in a roasting tin and leave in the fridge overnight. This will dry out the skin and help it to crisp up during cooking. Soak the dried cranberries in the red wine for the sour cranberry sauce.
- The next day, heat the oven to 230°C/fan210°C/gas 8 or as high as your oven will go. Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the cavity of the duck, and plenty of salt over the skin. Roast for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4 and roast for 40 minutes more, pouring off the fat from the roasting tin into a bowl every 20 minutes or so (use it for roasting potatoes).
- While the duck is in the oven, make the dressing. Put the wild rice, chicken stock, bay leaves and ½ tsp salt in a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or until most of the grains have popped open and the rice is tender. You may need to add more water if the stock is absorbed too quickly.
- Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce. Put the sugar in a small, heavy-based pan with 1 tbsp water and leave over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn the heat to high and cook until you have an amber-coloured caramel (keep a close eye on it as the colour can turn very quickly). Remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar – stand back as it will fizz quite violently. Return the pan to the heat and add the soaked cranberries along with the wine. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the mixture has a good sauce consistency. Mix the arrowroot with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl or jug, then stir into the sauce. Simmer for 1 minute. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then keep warm over a low heat – it will continue to thicken.
- Drain the wild rice and set aside. Melt the 25g butter in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic. Cover and cook over a low heat until the onion is soft and lightly browned. Remove the lid and stir in the chopped celery and thyme. Cook for 3 minutes more. Add the drained rice to the pan with the toasted pecans, dried berries and apricots, the apple, and the celery heart and leaves. Stir gently over a medium heat to warm through. Take off the heat and stir in the parsley, then taste and season. Keep warm.
- Take the duck out of the oven and test it’s cooked. The juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the leg (a digital probe thermometer should read 65-70°C when you push it into the breast); see Know-how. Put on a board, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes.
- To carve the duck, cut off the legs and cut them in half at the joint. Cut each of the breasts away from the carcass, then carve into long thin slices. Arrange the meat on a warmed serving platter or individual plates, then serve with the wild rice dressing and sour cranberry sauce.
These cooking times are based on a 2kg duck. If you’re using a bird of a different weight, allow 15 minutes per 500g.
You could use 100g fresh cranberries instead of the red apple in the dressing, for an extra hit of sourness.
Make the cranberry sauce the day before and keep, covered, in the fridge.
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