It's reasonable, after Christmas, to swear off roast dinners for a while. Many people seem to end up having three or four fairly similar meals within the space of a week and then shudder at the thought of another plate of roast meat, potatoes and greens.
That was pretty much the position I was taking, but Paul still wanted a Sunday roast. Although we had it on Monday because we weren't that hungry on Sunday night. Anyway, Gressingham ducks are half price at the moment, which made them cheaper than any of the higher-welfare chicken options on the supermarket shelf, and roast duck is always nice.
I decided to move it away from usual British Sunday roast flavours and give the meal some spice. The one possibly unusual piece of equipment you need for this is a gravy separator. It's not absolutely essential, but it means you'll be able to pour the delicious juices over your dinner without swimming in fat. Not that there is anything wrong with swimming in fat if that is what you are into.
I found this recipe on Joanne's blog, which as well as sounding enticing was pretty funny for her firm "I couldn't be a vegetarian" stance, when she's been vegetarian for years now! So a similar soy caramel was my starting point, flavouring the vegetables and glazing the meat.
Soy Chilli Caramel Roast Duck (serves 2 with leftovers)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp soy sauce mixed with 3tbs water
4 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 hot red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large aubergine, cut into chunks
1 whole duck, giblets removed
1tbs five spice paste
Mix the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a fast boil, swirling rather than stirring until it turns a rich golden brown and smells caramelly but not burnt. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce and water mixture. It will bubble and spit and the caramel will start to seize. Return to the heat and add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir until it makes a smooth sauce. Turn off the heat.
Place the sweet potato and aubergine in a large-ish bowl, pour most of the caramel sauce over the vegetables (keep back 1tbs or so to glaze the duck) and mix well.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a roasting tin with baking parchment. Spread the vegetables in the base of the tin and place the duck on top of them. Prick the duck all over with the point of a knife and smear the skin with the five spice paste. Roast for one hour.
At the end of the hour, remove the duck from the oven, spread with the remaining soy caramel sauce and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
At the end of the cooking time, remove the duck and vegetables from the tin and keep warm. Pour all the juices into the gravy separator and allow to settle while you prepare some greens. I stirfried some shredded cabbage with garlic and chilli and a spoonful more soy sauce.
Carve the duck and serve with the vegetables, pouring the de-fatted juices over the top.
With the carcase and leg portions I made a spiced broth following Mimi's chicken pho recipe in Noodle! to which I added a bag of stirfry mix and poured it over rice noodles.