Welcome to all about food. Hampers, hampers everywhere! As you can imagine, activity in the Gingergirl is at its peak as we send out the last batch of our delicious hampers nationwide. It certainly is a very satisfying part of my work knowing that families around the country will be tucking into my Spiced Cranberry Chutney, Jams, Jellies and Marmalades over the festive period.
May I take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read my column throughout the year and for all the emails, letters and kind words. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s to the very best in 2020.
The recipe below is an absolute favourite in the Gingergirl home and it is ideal for Christmas day. Don’t think that a 2kg duck is too much for two people, weight for weight, duck has a lot less meat than turkey or chicken but the rich flavour means that a little goes a long way. I do recommend that you order your duck in advance from any good craft butcher, you might even be lucky enough to get your hands on wild duck, in season for another few weeks.
Slow Roast Spiced Duck
1 duck about 2 kg
1 orange, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
Approx 500g of potatoes, peeled and halved
* Heat oven to 140ºc. Remove any giblets and pull the excess fat from the duck's cavity. Use a skewer to prick the skin of the duck all over - do this lightly as you don't want to pierce the meat.
* Rub the skin with salt and pepper and stuff the cavity with the orange quarters, cinnamon and star anise. Sit the duck on a small wire rack in a roomy roasting tin (you will be adding potatoes to the tin later) and roast for two hours and fifteen minutes. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 10 mins until just cooked.
* Remove the duck from the oven and increase the heat to 200ºc. Place the duck on a board and pour off half the fat from the tin. Toss the potatoes in the tin so they are completely coated in the juices, then push them to the side of the tin, sit the duck back in and give it a final twenty minutes in the oven to crisp up.
* Remove the duck from the oven to a board to rest, then place the potatoes back into the oven for another ten minutes to crisp up. When the duck has rested (for a total of twenty minutes) and the potatoes are brown, you are ready to carve and plate up. I like to serve this duck with spiced red cabbage (see my recipes on gingergirl.ie) and the usual Christmas trimmings.
And finally: Want some gravy with your duck? ….
Scoop the potatoes into a serving dish and pop into a warm oven. Pour all the fat out of the roasting tin (I highly recommend you strain this wonderful fat and keep in a jar in the fridge for roasting potatoes and vegetables). Place the tin on a high heat and simmer down a generous glass of red wine, stirring to dissolve any sticky bits from the base of the tin. Add 200ml of chicken stock, simmer then season to taste. Just before serving, I like to add a dessertspoon of apple or cranberry jelly. Yum!
Gingergirl aka Helen Keown is an artisan food producer.