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Roast Duckling with Dried Plums and Pearl Onions

An initial simmering renders much of the fat from the duck and creates a rich stock that forms the basis of the sauce. Dried plums and pearl onions are a natural pairing with the crisply roasted duck.

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Prep Time   15 min. Cook Time   1 hour, 20 min. Serves  6


Stock and Duck:

2 oranges, halved
1 onion, halved and studded with 4 cloves
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
3 slices fresh ginger, about ¼-inch thick and 1 inch in diameter
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise pods
1 (4 to 5-pound) duckling, thawed if frozen


3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


2 cups Armagnac, other brandy or apple cider
1 cup Duck Stock (reserved)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package (10 ounces) frozen, petite whole (pearl) onions, thawed
2 tablespoons water
1 cup (about 6 ounces) pitted dried plums
Salt and pepper, to taste


Stock and Duck:

Heat oven to 400°F. In deep pot large enough to hold duck, combine all ingredient except duck. Prick duck all over with fork; add to pot with water to cover. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover with plate smaller than pot to keep duck submerged. Cook at low boil 20 minutes. Remove duck to foil-lined roasting pan with rack. Strain and reserve 1 cup Duck Stock. Roast duck 30 minutes.


In  bowl, mix Glaze ingredients. Coat duck with Glaze; roast 15 to 20 minutes more, or until thickest part of breast reaches internal temperature of 170°F. Meat will be slightly pink; roast to 180°F for well done.


In skillet over medium-high heat, reduce Armagnac by half; add reserved Duck Stock and reduce by half again; set aside. In another skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the sugar. Add onions and water. Cook 5 to 8 minutes, tossing often, until onions are golden brown. Reduce heat to low; add dried plums and Armagnac mixture. Gradually whisk in remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Allow duck to rest 10 minutes before carving and serving with Sauce.

Nutrition Facts

% of Calories from Fat
Total Fat

Photo of Roast Duckling with Dried Plums and Pearl Onions