Gloriously glazed to a rich mahogany, this cinnamon-laced roast duck can form the centerpiece of the most Western of dinners. Traditionally the roast does not have a watercress garnish, but I like to use it to contrast the sweet flavor and add more complexity. It goes very well with Green Pea Pilaf.
1 duck (4 to 5 pounds), excess fat removed
Coarse salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup (about 15) shallots, peeled
2 sticks (3 inches) cinnamon
4 large purple plums, sliced
1/3 cup damson plum jam
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 bunch (6 to 7 ounces) watercress, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Rinse the duck and pat dry with paper towels. Rub salt and pepper all over the duck, inside and out.
3. Melt the butter in a large heavy nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and the cinnamon sticks and fry, tossing frequently, until the shallots are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the plums and cook, tossing, until coated with butter and heated through, about 1 minute. Spoon the cinnamon-plum-shallot mixture into the cavity of the duck. Sew or skewer closed.
4. Pour 1 cup water into a shallow roasting pan. Set the duck on its side on a rack in the pan. Roast for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes, first to the second side and then breast up.
5. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Combine the plum jam with the ground cinnamon and ginger. Brush the duck with some of the spiced jam. Continue to roast, turning occasionally and brushing with plum jam, until the duck is deep mahogany colored and tender, about 1 hour.
6. To serve, carve the duck into 4 portions and scoop out the stuffing. Spread the watercress on a serving platter, if you are using it. Arrange the duck in the center and surround with shallots and plum slices and cinnamon sticks. Serve immediately.
Introduction to Indian Cooking
By Julie Sahni
Ten Speed Press
Full-color photo inserts
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created January 1999
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