Eats, Shoots & Reads

Eats #9: Plumy Goodness…

Ingredients: [Duck] fresh sage, sea salt, gressingham duck, orange, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 2 sticks celery, bulb garlic. [Chutney] 100g caster sugar, 1/2 cinnamon stick, star anise, 6 large red plums, strip orange zest, pinch ground cumin, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Difficulty: 3/5
Rating: 4/5

Recipe number 9 of 52 was “Perfectly cooked crispy duck with spiced plum chutney” (page 198, Cook with Jamie).

First prepare the duck – quite a daunting task when you’ve never roasted a duck before.

Remove the giblets and give the duck a good rinse in cold water and leave to dry. Take fresh sage and bash it in a pestle and mortar with the sea salt and rub into the skin of the duck. Stuff the remaining sage and halved orange into the ducks chest cavity ready for roasting.

Chop the onion, celery and carrot and place onto a roasting try with the bashed garlic cloves. Place the duck, breast side down, on top of the vegetables and pop in the oven for 2 hours – turning occasionally to ensure even cooking. Make sure the duck is breast side up for the last 30 minutes to allow time to properly crisp the skin.

While the ducks in the oven make the spiced plum chutney by heating the sugar and water in a pan until dissolved. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and simmer until the syrup has reduced (but hasn’t turned golden). At this stage add the chopped plums, orange zest and cumin and cook until the chutney thickens. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

After 2 hours remove the duck from the oven and leave to rest for a few minutes before carving. Serve with the plum chutney (hot or cold) and enjoy!

Review

So was the duck perfectly cooked and crispy like Jamie promised?

YES… Although a daunting challenge and flipping a hot roasted duck isn’t the easiest of tasks the end result justified the occasional mayhem.

The duck was hot, juicy and tender and had a wonderfully crisp skin. The orange used to stuff the duck helped give it a subtle orange twist and kept the duck moist during cooking.

Although the duck was lovely the real revelation and absolute pleasure of this recipe was the spiced plum chutney. Vibrant red, sweet, juicy with a hint of spice – perfectly complementing the duck and definitely something I can see working with lots of other recipes and even as a preserve on toast.

Overall a wonderful recipe to cook and eat! Will I do it again… but only as part of a dinner party as a whole duck between 2 was too much!

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