Moroccan Spiced Duck with Fig and Port Sauce

, from Issue #23. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Moroccan Spiced Duck with Fig and Port Sauce

Serves: 4


1 duck
1 lemon, quartered
small handful of sage leaves
olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt

Fig and port sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
small knob butter
1 small onion, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs thyme
2 fresh figs, roughly chopped
fine zest 1⁄2 an orange
juice of 1 orange
1 cup port
2 cups beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve
4 fresh figs
4 teaspoons honey


Sauce: Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and thyme, season and cook until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize. Add the figs and cook for 2 minutes. Add the orange zest and juice, port and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by half. Tip into a sieve set over a bowl and push the sauce through, pressing on the solids to extract as much as possible. This thickens the sauce. Reheat before serving.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Duck: Rinse the duck inside and out and pull off any excess fat. Dry well with kitchen towels. Season the cavity and stuff with the lemon and sage. Tie the legs together with kitchen string.

Rub the skin with olive oil. Combine the spices and salt and sprinkle all over the duck. Place breast side down on a rack set over a roasting dish, with a little water in the bottom.

Roast for 1 hour, turn over and roast for a further hour. Remove to a plate, cover loosely and rest for 20 minutes.

Figs: Cut a cross in the top of each fig, slicing halfway down so the sides open out like petals. Place in a lightly greased baking dish and place a small piece of butter and a teaspoon of honey in the centre of each fig. Roast until soft but not falling apart. Set aside.

To serve: Cut the duck in half through the breast bone and down either side of the backbone. Discard the backbone. Cut each half into two portions. Carefully pull off the rib cage and the cartilage from the breast. This should come away easily if the duck is cooked until very tender.

Arrange on serving plates and spoon over the port sauce. Place a roasted fig alongside. Serve with your favourite potato dish and a green vegetable. 

This is a great dish for entertaining as the duck can be roasted 2 days ahead. Portion and de-bone while still warm. Cool, cover and refrigerate until needed. Place on a baking tray and reheat in a very hot oven for about 10 minutes to heat through and crisp the skin.