Roast duck legs with plums, garlic and sweet potato

Serving size: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

4 duck legs and thigh portions – these can be purchased ready portioned from the supermarket
4 plums – stones removed and quartered
1 large sweet potato – peeled and roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery – roughly chopped
1 fennel bulb – roughly chopped
1 courgette – roughly chopped
1 large bulb of garlic – unpeeled and cut in half through the middle
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons of honey
2 twigs of fresh rosemary
2 twigs of fresh thyme

Featured in:
June 2015

It’s funny how we go through phases with the things we like. Up until a couple of years ago I was most definitely a red wine guy and then, for some unknown reason, I simply couldn’t drink it anymore and moved onto white.

I found that I preferred white wine because I wasn’t necessarily eating with the wine, and that red wine was too heavy to consume on its own at the bar or chatting with friends. And I’ve now found that, if I’m sitting down to a wonderful long evening meal, I will much prefer a glass of red.

Wine choice can also be very seasonal and many prefer a chilled glass of white in the summer months. But now that my palate has also matured and I understand wine a little more, I’m actually turning back to a red wine that I enjoy all year round and that complements the situation. I sound proper grown up don’t I?

Much like wine, sometimes people can be intimidated by duck but treated this way, using the thighs and legs, the meat is rich and tasty and can be roasted slowly without drying out.

It’s such a simple dish to assemble, with very little prep work but you end up with a beautiful and very mature dish. The plums are the perfect accompaniment to the fruity, deep notes of a red Malbec for instance, and also work well to cut through the richness of the honey-glazed duck.

Pre-heat the oven to 140C.

Place all the chopped vegetables into an oven-proof dish or roasting pan, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the fresh herbs. Place the duck portions on top (skin up), sprinkle well with salt then cover the whole dish with foil and bake slowly in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour, carefully remove the foil, turn the duck portions over, turn up the oven to 180C and roast for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully turn the duck portions back over. There should be plenty of duck and plum juices in the dish, so take this opportunity to spoon the juices over the duck, then drizzle each one with a little honey and roast again for another 15 minutes or until the skin is a glorious golden brown.

Remove from the oven, spoon over the juices once more and then you’re ready to serve. This dish can be simply served as it is with all the roasting vegetables or alongside some creamy mash and fresh greens, such kale or spinach.

Eat and of course enjoy!

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