PLUM & CIDER POT ROAST DUCK
Begin this recipe at least 3 hours ahead. You will need a metal skewer.
1 bunch thyme 2kg whole duck, neck removed,
excess fat reserved 2 baby fennel, quartered,
fronds reserved 8 brown eschalots, peeled, halved lengthways (smaller ones left whole) 1 star anise 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 300ml apple cider 2 tbs sherry vinegar 1kg kipfler potatoes, scrubbed 4 blood plums, halved crossways,
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place half the thyme in the duck cavity and seal cavity with skewer. Place duck, breast-side down, and reserved duck fat in a cold, heavybased, flameproof casserole with a fitted lid (pressing duck to fit). Place over high heat and cook until sizzling, then cook, turning, for 18 minutes or until golden all over. Set duck aside and strain fat into a heatproof container. Return casserole to medium-high heat with 1 tbs duck fat. Add fennel, eschalot, star anise, garlic and remaining thyme leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes or until softened slightly. Add cider and vinegar, bring to the boil and cook, stirring regularly, for 3 minutes to reduce slightly. Add duck, breast-side up, cover and roast for 2 hours or until meat is falling from wings.
Meanwhile, place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, then when cool enough to handle, cut into 4cm slices. Transfer to a baking tray and toss with 1/3 cup (80ml) reserved duck fat (add olive oil to make up measure if necessary).
Increase oven to 220°C. Add plums to duck and return to oven. Place potatoes on shelf below duck. Roast, turning potatoes halfway, for 20 minutes or until duck is crisp and golden. Remove pot roast and skim fat from surface with a ladle. Rest for 10 minutes. Cook potatoes for a further 10 minutes or until golden, then add to pot roast. Scatter with fennel fronds to serve.