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Roast duck with apricot stuffing

An excellent weekend lunch dish, this duck is roasted with honey to make the skin sweet and crisp. The stuffing of apricots, rice and nuts helps to make the dish into a substantial meal for four persons. Serve with roast potatoes, a seasonal green vegetable and creamed carrots. Use the duck giblets for stock to make gravy in the roasting tin.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
1 duck (2 - 2 1/2 kg (4 - 5 lb))
25 g (1 oz) butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp warmed honey

For the stuffing:
100 g (4 oz) long-grain rice, cooked and drained
100 g (4 oz) dried apricots, soaked overnight, drained and chopped
50 g (2 oz) chopped almonds or hazelnuts
50 g (2 oz) currants or raisins
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 egg, beaten

To garnish:
8 canned apricot halves, drained
Knob of butter

method

1. Wash the duck and dry thoroughly with a tea-towel or absorbent kitchen paper.

2. To prepare the stuffing, put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and season to taste, binding the mixture with the beaten egg.

3. Place the duck on a board and fill the cavity with the stuffing, reserving 8 teaspoons for the garnish. Tie or sew with trussing string, securing with skewers if necessary.

4. Brush with the butter, sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and coat with the honey. Prick all over with a fork and place on a rack in a roasting tin.

5. Roast in a fairly hot oven (200°C/400°F or Gas Mark 6) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the duck is tender when pierced with a skewer, turning occasionally.

6. Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking time, put 1 tsp of the reserved stuffing into each apricot half. Dot each with a little butter and put in a greased dish or on a baking sheet.

7. Put in the oven to heat through. Remove the duck from the rack and discard the trussing string, and skewers if used. Transfer to a hot serving platter and garnish with the stuffed apricot halves.

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