Duck is a favourite meat in Polish cuisine, and serving it with apple and cranberries is a traditional combination. If you have time and want to ensure you get the skin as crisp as possible, season the duck inside and out with salt, pepper and dried marjoram and leave uncovered in the refrigerator overnight before roasting.
- 1 young duck about 1.8 kg)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2–3 tsp dried marjoram
- 3 granny smith apples (see Note)
- 1 small orange, rind grated
- 2 tbsp light olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 3 tsp butter
- 100 g fresh, frozen or dried cranberries (see Note)
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dried apricots
- 1 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts, briefly soaked in 2 tsp Krupnik (Polish honey vodka)
- 1 tbsp Krupnik (see Note) (optional)
- 2 tsp fresh marjoram leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rinse the duck with water and pat dry. Make a small slit at base of each breast and push drumsticks into slits.
Lightly prick duck all over to help release some of the fat. Remove the parson’s nose, since this contains oil glands that can affect the taste of the dish. Season duck inside and out with the salt, pepper and a little of the dried marjoram (see note).
Slice 1 apple and place in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, orange rind and 1 tsp dried of marjoram, and toss to combine. Stuff into duck cavity. Tie legs together to seal opening, then place on a rack set in a roasting pan. Combine the olive oil and honey and brush all over duck skin.
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Remove duck from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake the duck for 20–25 minutes, or until skin is starting to brown. Reduce temperature to 180°C and bake for another 1½ hours. Every 20–30 minutes, baste duck with juices from base of pan.
Remove duck from oven, cover loosely with foil and rest in a warm place for 10–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and core the remaining 2 apples and cut into wedges. Heat a large frying pan over medium- high heat. Add apples and toss for 1–2 minutes, then add the sugar. Season to taste. Toss for 5–6 minutes, or until golden and caramelised. Add remaining dried marjoram and the butter and toss well. Add the cranberries, dried apricots, walnuts, Krupnik, if using, and fresh marjoram. Toss to combine.
Cut the duck into pieces and serve with caramelised apples and cranberries.
• You could also use half red apples and half green apples, if you like.
• If you use dried cranberries, be sure to soak them first.
• If you can’t find Krupnik, use any vodka.