I know I am not alone in avoiding turkey when it comes to Christmas dinners. The traditional meal obviously involves Turkey and the usually superfluous side vegetables. So why don’t you try this. The origin of the recipe is Russian, but I have had to adapt & reinvent this, as I lost the original. You will, however, end up with a very tasty and wholesome meal at a fraction of the price, total Cost less than £30.00, and it is quick & easy. Beats turkey hands down!
Total Cost less than £30.00.
Serves 4-6 adults
Cooks in 3 hours
Whole ducks X 2
Shallots X 2 medium size
Garlic X 4 Cloves sliced
Apple Juice or sweet cider X 1 litre
Carrots X 4 all in chunky sliced
Sliced/Shredded Ginger 3 X table spoons
Green Apples X 2
Fresh Sage X 10 leaves
Mustard Powder X 1 tea spoon
Szechuan pepper corns X 3 tea spoons
Sesame seeds X 3 table spoons.
Sliced almonds X 2 table spoons
Honey X 2-3 table spoons
Pomegranate X 1 large
Salt X 2 tea spoons to taste.
Red Cabbage X 1 small about 400g
Green Apples X 2 Chopped in chunky cubes
Squash or Pumpkin X 200g
Red Onion X 2 medium
Garlic X 4 Cloves sliced
Olive oil X 6 table spoons
Balsamic Vinegar X 2 table spoons
Dark Brown Sugar X 3 Table spoons
Spring Onions X 12 singles
Celery X 5-6 younger sticks
Fresh coriander 1 X handful
Fresh Parsley 1 X handful
Red Onions X 1 Large
Cos Lettuce X 6-7 Young leaves
Sliced black olives X 4 table spoons
Large Butter beans X half a tin/jar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil X 4-5 Table spoons
Lemon X 1
- Have all you prepared and ready ingredients right before you. Helps omitting stuff.
- You have to butcher the whole ducks in to the portion sizes you want to serve. Not too big and not too small. You should end up with whole legs, whole wings and 2 half breasts as well as the bit with little meat, which is the back.
- You will need a large pot and the idea is to put all your ingredients in layers. So you add a bit of everything as you fill up the pot. This helps get the herbs and flavours to infuse throughout and not just in one part of the pot. Don’t just chuck the carrots and shallots etc in at the end.
- Then you add the apple juice which should cover the duck pieces at the top. Put the lid on and leave in fridge over night or 24 hours.
- Take the pot out and leave in room temperature for at least an hour and put on the hob. Simmer for about 2 hours. Do not boil.
- The stock should now be reduced to get the gravy. Increase the heat and remove lid and allow to boil gently. No need to add flour and stuff like that. It’s pointless and unnecessary, you have all the apple pulp in there that will thicken it.
- Take all the duck out of the pot and allow to cool for handling, as you have to tidy and clean the vegetables and herbs off.
- Start placing your duck pieces, with the skin facing up, on a large glass dish, heat proof ones!
- Pour the stock over your duck until you have about half an inch of liquid in base, not too much liquid.
- Generously, Sprinkle the sesame seeds right across all pieces followed by the almond slices.
- Drizzle the honey on top and place in a preheated oven, 200 degrees, for about 20-30 minutes. The meat is already cooked and you are essentially roasting the top to get that lovely brown crispy duck skin. So check and take out when it is right for you.
- You will need a large bowl for mixing and prepping.
- Chop the red cabbage in to thin slices. Remove the chunky pith bits that are in the core, just the leaves and put in your bowl.
- Chop your red onions in a similar way and add to bowl.
- Add the squash/pumpkin, garlic slices and apple cubes.
- Add the balsamic, olive oil, dark brown sugar to the bowl.
- Add your salt & crushed pepper, to taste.
- Now you thoroughly mix the vegetables so the olive oil and brown sugar evenly cover all the vegetables. The best way of doing this is your hands, wash the digits properly and get mixing and rubbing.
- Put your vegetable mix in an oven box or glass oven dish and then in the oven for 30-40 minutes. The vegetables should be on crunchy side and not too soft. So test to taste as it progresses.
- Preheat one of the serrated cast iron frying pans on the hob. It has to be really really hot. No oil. Peel and prep your spring onions, and put on the pan. You literally need a few minutes. Once you have the little charred bits on your spring onions you are done. Just drizzle a bit of olive oil and take off the pan and its ready to serve. You do this just prior to serving the whole meal.
- Allow the duck and the vegetable mix to rest for a few minutes and then serve with the pomegranate, as a side.
Note: you can add roast potatoes to this as well. But I didn’t this Christmas, most would have been wasted. This is a massive full plate of tasty stuff.
- Slice the celery. Not too thin and not too chunky and put in a large oversize bowl.
- Chop the red onions. Finely chopped and add to bowl.
- Finley chop the Parsley and coriander and add to the mix.
- Chop lettuce leaves about 1-1.5 inches wide and add to the mix.
- Very quick rinse of the butter beans and add to mix along with the sliced balck olives.
- Squeeze the whole lemon over the mix. If the lemon is not so juicy add another half or whole lemon.
- Pour Olive oil and add seasoning as normal and to taste.
- Mixing is essential and similar to the vegetable dish, above. Use both hands and mix everything gently but thoroughly.
- Allow to sit for about 5 minutes and then serve.
This salad is so tasty & wholesome that you can just have it on its own in a pitta bread or a wrap.