My brother rang me yesterday to tell me that he had shot a duck and was wondering what he should do with it. Fortunately I had cooked a duck a couple of weeks ago so I was able to talk him through what I did with it. I love having stuffing with a roast and found that this plum stuffing worked particularly well with the duck and it helped to keep the bird moist as it was cooking.
My parents keep Muscovy ducks, for several reasons; firstly they make great parents often rearing clutches of 15-18 ducklings. Secondly, they are fairly attractive ducks, so are fun to have wondering around the place and thirdly, they keep our peacocks in their place….
Earlier this autumn this year’s ducklings were ‘harvested’ and put in the freezer for eating over the winter months. It is always possible to tell which of the ducklings are female because they are a different shape and tend to have smaller thighs than the males. Our ducks have a gamey taste, as they are left to wander around the fields and woods from day one and are harvested later than commercial ones. As a result we prefer to eat our ducks well done, as opposed to the French way, where the meat is cooked rare and can be quite bloody. If you have any fat in the roasting dish after cooking make sure you drain it off into a little pot so that you can use it to make your roast potatoes with next time.
Roast Duck with Plum Stuffing
Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)
- 1 duck weighing roughly 1.25 – 1.5kg (with liver and heart if possible)
- 200g breadcrumbs
- 8 plums (de-stoned)
- handful of lardons
- 1 onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
- 1tsp thyme
1. Preheat oven to 190C fan.
2. Make your stuffing by placing the duck’s liver, heart, breadcrumbs, plums, lardons, onion, garlic, thyme and seasoning into a food processor and blitzing until all the ingredients are combined.
3. Stuff the duck’s cavity with the plum stuffing, packing it in as best as possible.
4. Dry the top of the duck with paper towel before seasoning well.
5. Place the duck in the oven and cook for 1¼ – 1 ½ hours, to test if the duck is done, see if the juices run clear when you place a knife in the thigh of the of the duck.
6. Remove the duck from the oven, cover with tin foil and allow to rest for 10 – 15 minutes.
7. Use a spoon to remove the stuffing before carving and place in a bowl to be served with the duck.
(Note: I always make stock with the carcass. You can do this by placing the carcass and any juices in a saucepan with an onion, celery stick, 2 carrots, dried mixed herbs and then covering it will water. Cook on a medium heat for a couple of hours. Then use to make soup later in the week.)