This is a variation of a traditional Russian Christmas recipe from the 19th and early 20th century. During the Soviet times, ducks were not easy to come by, and so this recipe unfortunately was half-forgotten. These days, roasted duck is popular again as a festive winter meal.
This was my first time ever cooking duck. I choose a European breed of duck which is supposed to have less fat than its Chinese counterpart (it still had a lot of fat under the skin though). I found several recipes online, each of which had some features that I liked. So I combined these recipes to create something that I thought would taste good. I stuffed my duck with a combination of fruit and nuts sprinkled with nutmeg to give it that extra special Christmas taste. I was pleasantly surprised how well this turned out. The skin was crispy, fat mostly melted out from long cooking in the oven, and the fruit-and-nut stuffing complemented the duck meat very well. The only problem was, it turned out that duck does not really have that much meat, and so my 2-kg duck was barely enough for 4 people to have a taste!
RECIPE – Roasted Duck Stuffed with Apples and Oranges
- 1 duck – 2 kg (4 lbs)
- 2 medium firm apple, such as Granny Smith, sliced in quarters
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp majoram
- 3 cloves of garlic, slivered
Wash duck inside and outside, removing any organs left inside the cavity, and dry off with paper towels.
Prepare stuffing – peel, core, and cube apples. Slice garlic into thin slivers. Put apples into a bowl, add garlic, nutmeg, basil, majoram, mix well.
Put duck into a plastic bag to prevent blood dripping on the counter. Pin one end of duck cavity closed with toothpicks. Stuff with apples.
Pin the other end of cavity closed with toothpicks. Tie legs together with kitchen string. Line a large baking dish with two layers of foil.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Cook duck in the oven for 2.5 hours.
Open up the foil packet. Pour melted fat and cooking juices from the pan on top of duck. Pre-heat broiler to 500ºF (260ºC) and broil until skin is well browned. Pour fat over duck every 5 minutes or so to prevent from drying out.
Take out of the oven and let stand for 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and serve. The apples are not meant to be eaten, they are added to infuse the duck with apple flavour.