Roast one or two ducks the day before the Christmas meal. Once you have removed them from the oven, set aside to cool completely then refrigerate. An hour before you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 190°C and reheat the duck for 20 minutes or until heated through, or serve at room temperature with a salad, if you prefer.
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Oven temperature: 150°C
Plum and star anise sauce
1 To cook the duck Make sure the duck has been prepared properly the day before you roast it. Use a sharp skewer or thick embroidery needle to prick the skin all over. Place the duck onto a small rack and place that into a roasting tin. Sprinkle the duck liberally with salt. Roast in a preheated oven for two hours. Baste the duck every half an hour with the fat drawn from the meat during cooking. Once the duck comes out of the oven, turn it over onto the breast side and set aside for 20 minutes or until you are ready to carve it.
2 Plum and star anise sauce Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan. Add the ginger and sauté for one minute. Add the remaining spices and stir until fragrant. Add the plums, vinegar and sugar. Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Serve the sauce warm or cold.
3 To carve the duck Use a carving fork to hold the duck in place. Use a sharp carving knife to cut the leg and thigh off through the joint. You can separate these into two pieces, if you prefer.
4 Keep the knife close to the breastbone of the duck and slice downwards to remove the breast section. Repeat for the other breast.
5 Slice the breasts diagonally. Cut any remaining meat off the carcass. Serve warm with potatoes and plum sauce or cold with a salad.
Words and images: Ideas magazine