“The lamb was as good as any he had ever eaten, and the duck was even better, cooked with cherries and lemons and not near as greasy as most. The innkeep brought buttered pease as well, and oaten bread still hot from her oven.” -The Hedge Knight
Duck with Cherries and Lemon
This was a special request from twitter commenter @theodinspire, who wondered if we’d tackled this recipe yet. It turned out that we hadn’t, but that description is so wonderful that it immediately went to the top of my list.
As you can see from the photo, the color of the finished dish is very striking. That vibrant red comes from the cherry juice and wine, which soak into the skin of the duck as it gets basted. The result is a tart, crisp skin and soft duck on the inside. The citrus and cherry pair well, but not at all in that cherry-ade slushie sort of way. Rather, it’s a kind of savory tartness, with just a bit of a kick from the ginger.
While I’m not sure about pease as a pairing, I think that our oatbread would be just wonderful next to this duck, the candied orange peel complimenting the lemon, while still being rustic enough for a country inn. Pretty decadent fare for a hedge knight!
Recipe for Duck w/Cherries & Lemons
- 1 duck, about 4-5 lb.
- 1 lemon, zested, juiced
- 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
- 1 Tbs. ground ginger
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 cups fresh cherries
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a saucepan, combine all the ingredients except the duck and lemon slices. Simmer this mixture until the cherries are soft enough that their pits can be easily removed (if you have a cherry pitter, so much the better- I didn’t!). Press the mixture through a colander, discarding the pits, and saving the juices and crushed cherries.
Pat the duck dry and place in a roasting dish. Prick the duck all over with a fork, which will help the fat run off. Rub all over with the butter, then add a dash of salt. Pour half of the cherry-lemon mixture over it, toss in the lemon slices, and place the whole in the oven.
Baste the duck periodically: because of the chunks of cherry, a large spoon is better suited to this task than a baster. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then check for doneness. When cooked through, remove the duck to a serving platter and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Serve with the remaining half of the sauce.