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Karen Martini’s Twice-Cooked Duck with Prunes and Barley

Karen Martini’s Twice-Cooked Duck with Prunes and Barley

We’ll be making Karen Martini’s roasted duck recipe from her new cookbook Everyday at dinner parties this summer. This might not be a quick dinner idea but if you’ve ever wanted to tackle duck this is the recipe to try. This show-stopping dish would be beautiful served family style.

Duck meat is rich and intense, and the perfect foil is the contrasting flavour of fruit. In this dish, slow-roasted prunes do the job beautifully. Cooking the duck twice gives you crisp skin while the flesh stays moist – Karen Martini.

Everyday by Karen Martini, published by Pan Macmillan, RRP $39.95

Serves: 4


2 x size 22 ducks (about 2.2 kg each)
3 tablespoons salt flakes
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons allspice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
1 fresh bay leaf
40 g salted butter

Star anice-spiced prunes

400 g large prunes
500 ml verjuice or apple juice
300 ml water
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
2 fresh bay leaves
6 thyme sprigs
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C fan-forced (220°C conventional).

2. Grind the salt, pepper and allspice in a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil and mix well.

3. Trim the neck and any excess fat from the cavity, then rub the salt mixture all over the ducks, inside and out. Prick all over with a small knife and place on a wire rack in a roasting tin. Roast on the middle shelf of the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 230°C fan-forced (250°C conventional).

5. To make the spiced prunes, place the prunes in a baking dish that holds them snugly. Pour over the verjuice or apple juice and water, season generously and scatter over the bay leaves, thyme, cinnamon stick and star anise. Add the vinegar and cover the dish with baking paper then foil. Bake at the bottom of the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes until the prunes are swollen. Remove from the oven.

6. Pour the juices into a small saucepan and cook over medium–high heat until reduced by one-third and the sauce is slightly thicker.

7. Score the skin in two lines down the back of each duck. Turn over and fillet one side of the duck from the breast to the thigh and drumstick to the back of the duck so that you have a complete side. Twist and remove the thigh bone and transfer to a sheet of baking paper. Repeat with the other side of this duck and with the remaining duck.

8.Place the duck halves, skin side up, on a baking tray and roast for 15–20 minutes until crispy and hot. You may like to turn on your grill to crisp the duck even more.

9. Serve the prunes alongside the crispy duck, with the juices spooned over.

After cooking once, the ducks will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. The second roasting can be done just before you serve.

When you purchase the ducks, ask the butcher to pop the thigh bones out of the hip sockets and to remove the wishbones. This will make it easier to bone the ducks after cooking them.

The day before roasting, take the ducks out of their wrapping and sit them, uncovered, on a tray in the fridge to drain their juices and dry out the skin. Although this is optional, it will help you achieve a crispier skin. Before cooking, allow the ducks to come to room temperature.

What are your favourite duck recipes?


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