Some dishes are just so delicious there won’t be a scrap left on the plate. So much so, you’ll want to cook them time and time again. Well this recipe is certainly one of those! Crispy spiced duck with cauliflower-rice, studded and jewelled with almonds and saffron. Quite simply sublime!
Duck is a particularly succulent meat, with a strong rich flavour. When cooked in the right way, the skin goes ‘cracklingly’ crisp, whilst the meat below remains tender and meltingly soft. There’s also a wonderful sense of pride when you carry a plump golden bird to the table. It’s majestic in its finery and remains one of those rare dishes which truly feels like a special treat. The cook’s reward is an army of empty plates, scraped ‘clean as a whistle’ – strong testament indeed that the meal was both appreciated and expertly cooked!
This dish may sound complicated, but is actually incredibly easy to do. All you need is a little time and a good hot oven. This simplicity is echoed in the cauliflower-rice, which is every bit as tasty as the duck itself. The delicate scent of saffron perfectly complements the robust flavours of the duck, and the rice looks truly beautiful when studded with almonds and bright coloured peppers.
Orange-flower water and zest add to the dish’s aromatic profundity; indeed duck and orange is a flavour-partnership which has endured for centuries! All the above is elegantly lifted by the lightest whisper of chilli, which serves to cut through the richness and balance the flavour… a veritable ‘symphony of taste’!
Duck is perfect for a ketogenic diet. Low carb dishes can sometimes lack that satisfying ‘filling’ quality, but this delivers on all levels! There’s no gluten, so those with an intolerance to wheat will be fine; as will diabetics and those on a paleo-regime because there’s no dairy. Everyone is welcome at the table – the more the merrier!
Start by preparing your duck. Make sure it’s at room temperature, then dust the skin lightly with a mix of equal-quantities of garlic-salt and smoked paprika. Season all over and then leave to sit for 20 minutes to develop in flavour. You can leave this over-night if you like, but I’m impatient! Once rested, season all over then sprinkle a little dried oregano over the skin. Place the bird breast-side down into an oven-dish, then into a hot oven it goes for 40 minutes to an hour, until the skin on the underside goes crisp.
Roasting the duck upside down at first will mean that all the fat and juices sink down into the breast, preventing it from being dry. Once golden and brown on the underside, turn the bird over and re-season the top, making sure to provide enough salt that the skin crisps up and turns a fine, succulent bronze. This will take a further half hour to 45 minutes.
Once the duck has been turned, you’re ready to start on the cauliflower-rice. Cut the cauliflower into florets and pulse these in a food-processor until the texture is as per rice grains. It’s best doing this is batches, so that the food-processor doesn’t turn the lot into purée!
Once chopped, place a wok or wide-bottomed pan onto the hob and add in butter & a little olive-oil (so the butter doesn’t burn). Sauté a finely sliced onion and garlic for around four minutes, then add chopped chillies and a small sprinkle of cumin (quantity subject to preference for both). We don’t want this to be too overpowering, so tread lightly (I used a de-seeded green chilli, finely sliced and half a teaspoon of spice). Thinly slice half a green, red and yellow pepper and add these at the same time as the chilli.
Cook the vegetables through for a couple of minutes, then pour in your cauliflower-rice. Stir authoritatively, so that the whole lot is well-coated in butter, then sprinkle on grated orange zest and your saffron strands. Follow this with a couple of chicken stock-cubes for background flavour, and a small capful of orangeflower-water. If you don’t have this, the orange-zest should suffice. I use it because it provides a delicate ‘floral’ note, which adds to the exotic, aromatic quality of the dish.
Whilst this is cooking through, toast a handful of flaked almonds under the grill until they start to char and smoke around the edges. The aroma from this is mouthwatering. For some reason it always reminds me of Christmas & hot roasted chestnuts!
Meanwhile, take your duck out of the oven and cover well with tinfoil to rest for circa 15-20 minutes. It should be richly bronzed, and slightly red from the paprika. The aroma should speak for itself; there’s no need to describe to you how good this will be!
Taste the rice to adjust the seasoning and check that the cauliflower is cooked through. We’re looking for tender, but still keeping its bite. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on top and remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the duck to a pre-heated serving platter and pile your rice all around. Garnish with a final flourish of toasted almonds, chopped herbs and few strands of orange-zest for colour.
Carry to the table with pride and ‘dig in’ whilst the duck is still piping hot! Delicious!
Browse this and other recipes by picture on my pinterest page: country walks in ketosis pinterest.
Thanks for reading and bon ap!