It is National Honey Week this week and while we are sweet enough as we are, the complex flavours in honey add a wonderful depth of flavour to dishes whether they are sweet or savoury.
To celebrate the nectar of the gods we are going with this fabulously decadent dinner party recipe – it takes a serious amount of ingredients and preparation but it will have your guests talking for a long time after the event (half the ingredients for a smaller dinner party).
Makes 12 servings
12 ducks, 4 pounds each
1/2 cup garlic, chopped, divided
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup olive oil
10 litres veal stock
1/3 cup coriander, ground
1/3 cup cinnamon, ground
1/3 cup ginger, ground
3 tablespoons cumin, ground
2 tablespoons turmeric, ground
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon nutmeg, ground
1 tablespoon black pepper, ground
3 pounds onions, chopped
2 1/4 pounds honey
3/4 cup water, rose
48 prunes, pitted
12 chervil sprigs
36 almonds, for garnish
1/3 cup sesame seeds, for garnish
1. A day in advance, cut each duck into 2 legs and 2 boned breasts: trim excess skin and fat. Sprinkle duck with half the garlic; cover with cold water. Add lemon juice. Refrigerate 24 hours.
2. Soak saffron in hot water; reserve.
3. Remove duck pieces from liquid; discard liquid. Pat duck pieces dry; separate legs and breasts. Refrigerate breasts.
4. Heat olive oil and sear duck legs on all sides until crisp and brown, about 10 minutes. Remove duck legs; reserve. Pour all but 3 tablespoons fat from the pan. Deglaze with 3 quarts veal stock; reduce over high heat about 3 minutes. Stir in spices; cook, stirring, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in onion and remaining garlic; cook until soft, about 10 minutes.
5. Add reserved duck legs to pan; turn to coat well with spice mixture. Add remaining veal stock; bring to a boil. Cover; cook at 350° F/ 180° C until tender, about 1 hour. Remove duck legs from pan; reserve. Stir in reserved saffron mixture, honey and rose flower water into sauce; reduce by about half. Reserve.
6. PER SERVING Over low heat, re-heat 1 duck leg and 4 prunes in 1 cup sauce.
7. Lightly score skin on 1 duck breast in a diamond pattern. Sear, skin side down, in a hot sauté pan until skin is browned. Turn breast over and cook until just firm to the touch (medium rare), about 6 minutes; keep warm.
8. Remove duck leg from sauce, brush with honey and glaze under grill.
9. Pool 1/2 cup sauce on a serving plate. Arrange duck leg in the center, prunes around the edge. Thinly slice duck breast on the diagonal; arrange slices around duck leg. Ladle remaining sauce over duck. Garnish with chervil sprig, almonds and sesame seeds. Serve with Mediterranean flat bread.