Luxury Low-Fat Recipes

By Moira Hodgson
Photograph: iStock

ROAST DUCK WITH APRICOT SAUCE
Serves 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1½ hours
    1     duck, around 6 pounds, with
        giblets
        Sea salt
        Freshly ground pepper
    2     tablespoons fresh rosemary
    2     tablespoons fresh thyme
Sauce
    1     shallot, minced
    1     tablespoon butter
    ½     cup Port or Madeira
    8     dried apricots, chopped
    1½     ounce container beef and veal
        stock demi-glace*
    2     tablespoons balsamic vinegar
        Lemon juice, to taste (about ¼ cup)
        Sprigs of fresh thyme and/or
        rosemary, for garnish
1. Remove the fat from the interior of the duck. Cut off the wing tips. Prick the skin all over with the tines of a fork, taking care not to cut into the meat. Sprinkle it liberally with salt.
2. Chop the liver, and mash it in a bowl with salt and pepper. Mix it with the rosemary and thyme leaves, and spread it into the cavity of the duck. Tie the legs together.
3. Put the duck onto a rack that fits in a heavy-bottom casserole. Pour in enough water to come to just below the rack. Cover the casserole, and steam the duck over moderate heat for 45 minutes, making sure the water doesn’t evaporate. Any remaining fat will have drained away. Allow the duck to rest for about 10 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels. The duck may be prepared a day ahead up to this point.
4. When you are ready to roast the duck, preheat the oven to 500°. If you refrigerated the duck after steaming it, bring it to room temperature before you roast it. Place the duck on a roasting rack in a pan, and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is golden brown and the skin is crisp.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a saucepan, cook the shallot in butter over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the Port or Madeira, and bring to a boil. Add the duck neck, gizzard, apricots and 2 cups water; simmer until reduced by half.
6. When the duck is cooked, cut the threads binding its cavity. Using paper towels to protect your hands, empty the juices from the cavity into the pan of sauce. Add the demi-glace and balsamic vinegar. Bring the sauce to a boil, and simmer until it has thickened, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the duck neck and gizzard with a slotted spoon. Check the sauce for seasoning, and add lemon juice as needed. Pour it into a warm sauceboat.
7. Transfer the duck to a platter, and decorate it with sprigs of thyme or rosemary.
*I use Demi-Glace Gold, made by More Than Gourmet and available in specialty stores.

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