Roast Duck with Apricot Rice Stuffing
|Water||2 Cup (32 tbs)|
|Long grain white rice||1 Cup (16 tbs) (not the converted variety)|
|Dried apricots||1 1⁄2 Cup (24 tbs), quartered (24 nos.)|
|Black pepper||To Taste|
|Chicken stock||2 Cup (32 tbs) (fresh or canned)|
|Onions||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs), finely chopped|
|Garlic||1⁄2 Teaspoon, finely chopped|
|Dried thyme||1⁄8 Teaspoon|
|Apricot preserves||2 Tablespoon|
|Corn starch||2 Tablespoon, combined with 2 tablespoons cold water|
1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
To prepare the duck:
2. Under cold running water wash it quickly and pat it dry inside and out with paper towels.
3. Rub the inside of the duck with the remaining teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of black pepper.
4. For a crisper skin, prick the surface around the thighs, the back and the lower part of the breast with the tip of a sharp knife.
To prepare the stuffing:
5. In a small saucepan bring the 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a boil over high heat.
6. Pour in the rice, stir once or twice and reduce the heat to low and simmer covering the pan tightly for 10 minutes.
7. Drain the rice in a sieve and transfer it to a bowl.
8. Mix well adding the apricots and a liberal grinding of black pepper.
To stuff the duck:
9. Fill the cavity of the duck loosely with the stuffing and close the opening by lacing it with small skewers and cord or sewing it with heavy white thread.
10. Fasten the neck skin to the back of the duck with a skewer and truss the bird neatly.
11. In a large shallow pan place the duck breast side up on a rack set and roast it in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes.
12. Pour off the fat from the roasting pan or draw it off with a bulb baster.
13. Reduce the heat to 350° and roast for about 1 hour longer.
14. To test for doneness pierce the thigh of the bird deeply with the point of a small skewer or a sharp knife.
15. If the juice that trickles out is still slightly tinged with pink and not clear yellow, roast the duck for another 5 to 10 minutes.
16. Transfer the bird to a heated serving platter and discard the string and skewers.
17. Let the roast duck rest for about 10 minutes for easier carving.
To prepare the sauce:
18. Retaining 3 tablespoons of the fat remaining in the roasting pan, add the chicken stock, onions, garlic and thyme and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly and scraping in the brown particles that cling to the bottom and sides of the pan.
19. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
20. Add the apricot preserve and the cornstarch-water mixture and, still stirring and cook over low heat until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens lightly.
21. Through a fine sieve strain the sauce into a sauceboat or gravy bowl, pressing down hard on the onions with the back of a spoon to extract all their juices before discarding the pulp and taste for seasoning.
22. Serve the duck at once, accompanied by the sauce.
23. Garnish the duck with dried apricots that have been simmered in water to cover for 30 minutes, or until tender and thoroughly drained if desired and serve.