DUCK WITH PRUNES, CHESTNUTS AND PEDRO XIMENEZ SHERRY
This dish has all the elements of the perfect Christmas centerpiece, if it wasn’t for the fact it is just too easy to prepare. You know how complicated we like to make it when it comes to Christmas – nothing can take half an hour.
3 TBSP OLIVE OIL
1 SMALL WHOLE DUCK (ABOUT 1.5KG [31⁄4LB]), CLEANED
8 GARLIC CLOVES, SKIN ON BUT CRUSHED
A HANDFUL OF PEELED CHESTNUTS
1 ONION, THINLY SLICED
6 SPRIGS FRESH THYME
125ML (1⁄2 CUP) SWEET PEDRO XIMÉNEZ SHERRY
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
BREAD OR ROASTED NEW POTATOES, TO SERVE
Preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F/gas mark 6.
Heat the olive oil in a wide ovenproof pan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the duck with salt and pepper and pan-fry on all sides until golden. Help yourself with a pair of tongs. After 10 minutes, remove the duck from the pan and set aside.
Add the garlic cloves, chestnuts and onion to the pan and fry for 10 minutes. Add the thyme and prunes and cook for a further 5 minutes. Return the duck to the pan and flambé with the sherry. To to this, slowly tilt the pan towards the flame until the sherry catches, or light with a match. Let the flames flare up then die down and then add 250ml (1cup) water.
Put the pan in the oven and cook for 25 minutes, then switch off the heat and leave the duck in the oven for a further 20 minutes without opening the door. This should crisp up the skin and cook the duck to perfection as well as resting the meat.
Serve as a centerpiece with some good bread or roasted new potatoes.
NOTE: For a really delicious accompaniment, cook the duck sitting over 600g (1lb 5oz) new potatoes so that the potatoes roast in the sauce and meat juices.
© Spanish Made Simple by Omar Allibhoy - Quadrille Publishing; Photography by Martin Poole
Get this recipe and more in Omar's new book Spanish Made Simple