Duck with Wild Blackberry Sauce
2 ducklings, 4 to 5 lbs. each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 or 9 Valencia oranges
2 cups sugar
2 cups red wine vinegar
1-1/2 cups ruby port
3 cups beef stock or canned beef bouillon
2 Tbsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
2 pints (4 cups) fresh or frozen dry-packed blackberries
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
1 tsp cornstarch, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
2. Dry the ducks thoroughly. Remove and discard the wing tips from
the ducks. Season the ducks inside and out with salt and pepper,
then truss them. Save the giblets for another use or discard. Place
a large rack in a roasting pan. Set the ducks breast sides up on the
rack and prick the thighs with a fork. Place in the oven and roast
for 2 hours.
3. While the ducks are roasting, using a swivel-bladed vegetable
peeler or a zester, remove the zest from 2 of the oranges. Cut the
zest into very fine shreds and set aside. Squeeze enough juice from
the remaining oranges to measure 2 cups. Set aside.
4. Stir together the sugar and vinegar in a large enamel or
stainless-steel saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the
mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Add the port, orange juice,
stock (or bouillon), ginger, three-fourths of the orange zest and
half of the berries. Raise the temperature to high and reduce the
mixture by about two thirds of its volume. This will take 10 to 20
minutes. Season, if desired, with a little salt and a pinch of
cayenne pepper. The sauce is usually on the thin side. For a thicker
sauce, blend the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water and stir the
mixture into the sauce. Set aside.
5. When the ducks are ready, remove from the oven (do not turn off
the oven) and cut into quarters with poultry shears. Add the
remaining berries to the sauce and heat until the berries are hot.
Spoon a little sauce over each portion and garnish the portions with
the remaining orange zest. Just before serving, warm the ducks
through in the hot oven.
Serve with wild rice and perhaps a saute of fresh kale or fennel.
Cafe des Amis