Golden Duck with Lychee Sauce

Cooking what is the most prized bird in China would seem to call for Chinese accompaniments. Simple to achieve, this dish is nevertheless just right to give a novel slant to a festive occasion. Both the texture and flavour of the sauce go beautifully with the duck, which should not be overcooked but remain slightly pink-fleshed. Serve it with either new potatoes or brown rice, and with mangetout peas or sliced and steamed Chinese leaves dotted with butter and sprinkled with soy sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml spoon) salt
  • 4¾-5 lb (2.1-2.25 kg) duck
  • 1 small onion
  • juice of 1 orange

For the sauce

  • 11 oz (325 g) can of lychees
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml spoon) cornflour
  • 6 tablespoons (6 x 15 ml spoons) water
  • 2 tablespoons (2 x 15 ml spoons) dry sherry
  • a bunch of spring onions, chopped finely
  • cayenne pepper (chilli powder)
  • salt

Method

Mix the sugar with the salt and rub the mixture all over the duck. Peel and coarsely chop the onion and put it in the body cavity of the duck, with a sprinkling of sab Pour the orange juice into the body cavity and then skewer up the opening to enclose it. Put the duck on a rack in a roasting pan. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/350°F/180°C. Cook the duck in the centre of the oven for 40-45 minutes. Then turn the heat up to Gas Mark 9/475°F/240°C for another 10 minutes or so until the duck is richly brown and crisp.

While the duck is cooking, get ready to make the sauce. Strain the juice from the lychees into a small saucepan and leave on one side. Cut each lychee in half. Blend the cornflour in two tablespoons of the water. When the duck is ready take out the skewers, hold the duck with a cloth and pour the juices from inside it into the saucepan containing the lychee juice. Put the duck back in the roasting tin while you make the sauce.

Add the remaining four tablespoons of water and the sherry to the pan of juices. Stir in the blended cornflour and bring to the boil, stirring until the sauce thickens. Add the lychees and the chopped spring onions and boil again for another minute or so. Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper (chilli powder). If the sauce seems too thick (this will depend on how much juice came out of the duck) stir in a little more water. Pour the sauce into a jug and serve separately.

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