Celebrate with Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts
And just like that, we’re into the holiday season again.
Not quite ready for it? Me, neither.
But this grand looking “Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts (and Potatoes)” will surely put you in a festive mood.
This simple recipe is from “Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy.
Family-owned in Devon in southwest England, Pipers Farm was founded more than 30 years ago and adheres to regenerative farming techniques to raise native breeds that are grass-fed and free-range. It also now works with 40 small-scale farms in the area.
The cookbook was written by Abby Allen, who operates Pipers Farm, and Rachel Lovell, a food writer who has worked with the farm for years.
While this is a cookbook with plenty of carnivore recipes, Allen’s intent is to get you to eat meat more wisely by supporting family farms that raise animals the right way. She also encourages you to eat less of it, making every bit count by choosing quality over quantity; and to not waste anything, even offering up detailed recipes to make fortifying chicken and beef stocks, as well as one to use up off-cuts in “Haggis.”
Tuck into other hearty dishes such as “Oxtail Ragu with Rigatoni,” “Sausage, Fennel & Cheddar Pizza with Crispy Sourdough Crumb,” “Venison, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Sandwich,” and “Chicken & Lentil Stew with Walnut Gremolata Smash.”
For me, every time I cook a whole duck, I invariably think, “Wow, I should do this more often!”
Because it’s not any harder than roasting a chicken, and it has loads more flavor.
Same with this dish.
A whole duck gets rubbed with olive oil, and an easy pounded mixture of juniper berries, coriander seeds, fresh rosemary needles, and salt and pepper. As you pummel the spices with a mortar and pestle, a winter-y pine and menthol-like fragrance fills the air from the juniper berries.
Roast the duck in the oven for almost an hour at 350 degrees before adding Brussels sprouts and quince to the pan to cook. If you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying quince, this is an ideal way to do so, since you don’t have to do any heavy lifting except for cutting them into quarters. Quince need to be cooked to be eaten, as they are sour, astringent, and tough when raw. But once cooked, they taste sweetly of a pear crossed with an apple with a hint of cinnamon spice.
I also took the liberties to add a few potatoes to the roasting pan because I had some handy. Plus, there are few things as delicious as potatoes cooked in duck fat. Am I right?
The duck was done in the time instructed in the recipe. However, I found that the quince, Brussels sprouts, and, yes, potatoes, needed longer in the oven. So, I removed the duck from the pan to a serving platter. Then, I cranked up the heat to 400 degrees, and let the veggies and quince continue to roast for another 15 minutes while the duck rested, which I added to the recipe below.
The seasoning on the duck gets crusty in the best of ways, and the flesh ends up moist and juicy. The Brussels sprouts, potatoes, and quince get bathed in all that luscious duck fat, making them thoroughly irresistible.
Duck and fruit always play well together. In this case, the quince adds just the right autumnal wine-y sweetness for the rich poultry.
That was amplified even more when I uncorked a sample bottle of the 2019 Barra Petit Sirah ($26). The Barra family of Mendocino started farming organic grapes since 1955, and selling it to other wineries, before deciding in 1977 to launch their own wine brand.
This Petit Sirah is flush with juicy blackberries, boysenberries, cranberries, and pomegranates along with cinnamon, black pepper, and plenty of earthiness.
Fill your plate and your glass, accordingly, and begin reveling in the holidays.
Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts (and Potatoes)
(Serves 4 to 5)
2 teaspoons juniper berries
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
2,5kg (5-pound-8-ounce) free-range duck
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 quince, quartered
14 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved
3/4 to 1 pound small potatoes, halved (optional)
Pure sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pestle and mortar, grind the juniper berries, coriander seeds, rosemary, some black pepper and a good pinch of salt.
Place the duck in a roasting dish, drizzle with the olive oil and rub it into the skin. Sprinkle the spice mix over the duck and massage this into the skin of the duck, too.
Roast the duck for 55 minutes, then add the quince and sprouts, and potatoes (if using), generously coating the fruit and vegetables in the luscious duck fat. Return to the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes.
Remove the duck from the oven, and let rest on a serving platter to allow the juices to set. Turn oven up to 400 degrees, and continue to roast the quince and vegetables for about 15 minutes.
Carve and serve the duck with a generous helping of the roast quince, sprouts, and potatoes.
Adapted from “Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook” by Abby Allen & Rachel Lovell
More Duck Recipes to Enjoy: Duck Meatloaf (Or Burgers)
And: Venetian Duck Ragu