Plum Duck with Kirsch Sauce

This is a good dish for an autumn dinner party when there is a glut of red plums. Butchers and supermarkets now sell duck joints; otherwise ask for 2 small to medium ducks to be cut in quarters.

Ingredients

  • juice of 4 oranges
  • 300 ml/½ pint water
  • 5-6 blades mace
  • 8 breast and wing joints of duck
  • 1.1 kg/ lb firm red plums
  • a little olive oil
  • 600 ml/1 pint double cream
  • 3-5 tablespoons kirsch
  • thin slices of lemon, to garnish
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Put the orange juice, water and mace into a large, heavy-based saucepan, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Put in the joints of duck, cover the pan and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Then remove the duck and pat dry with absorbent paper. Strain the liquid into another saucepan and keep on one side.

Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/gas mark 9. Cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Spread the plums, cut-side down, over the bottom of a large roasting pan and lay the duck on top. Smear the duck joints generously with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cook towards the top of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a rich golden brown. Then put the duck in a serving dish. Take the plums from the pan with a slotted spoon and arrange around the duck. Keep warm in a low oven while you make the sauce.

Pour off any excess fat from the roasting pan and pour the remaining juices into the saucepan containing the reserved cooking liquid. Boil up fiercely for about 8 minutes, until reduced and thickened, then stir in the cream and bring up to the boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce into a sauce boat. Garnish the duck with lemon slices and serve with the sauce.