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Roast Duck with Apricots and Prunes

January 23, 2010

Although I never had duck while growing up it was one of the first things I had on my arrival in New York City.  One block from my apartment was a wonderful duck restaurant and it has been a favorite meal since then.  Since that first duck dinner I have had duck in many countries, lived near a duck farm on Long Island and have made it myself in many ways.  As part of birthday celebrations one present was always any dinner you wanted.  As a young girl my daughter, Adrienne always requested “Duck a l’ Orange” for her birthday dinner.   This past Christmas duck was planned for Christmas Day and I would not rest until I found the perfect recipe that would be close to an entrée I had in Paris a long time ago in a tiny bistro on a small street on the Left Bank (unfortunately cannot remember the name of either, but I could find it). 

Roast Duck with Apricots and Prunes


  • 1 5-6 lb. duck
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 – 3/4  cup Port
  • 1/2 cup fresh or canned chicken broth (or make duck broth)
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried prunes

Preparation for Duck

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  2. Remove neck and gizzard for broth.  Cook neck and gizzard with water, carrot, celery and onion on low for approximately 20 minutes.  Substitute for chicken broth if desired.  Sprinkle the duck inside and out with salt and pepper.  Pierce the skin of the breast and legs with a fork or paring knife to help the fat to render out as it roasts.
  3. Place duck on its back  in roasting pan.  Place in oven and bake 30 min.  Put the apricots and prunes in a pot with 1/4 cup port and simmer.  Add additional port if necessary.
  4. Remove from oven and pour or spoon  off the accumulated fat. (Reserve duck fat for future use).  Turn duck on its side and roast 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and pour or spoon off the fat.  (Reserve duck fat for future use).  Be careful not to pour off the non-fat liquid in the pan.
  6. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees. Turn the duck breast side down, return to oven and bake 30 min.
  7. Turn the duck on its other side and bake 30 min.
  8. Remove from oven and transfer duck, back side down to another roasting pan.  Rub the skin all over the garlic. Return to oven for 10 min.  As it roasts, rub it once more all over with garlic.
  9. Meanwhile, place the original roasting pan on top of the stove and add the 1/4 cup port, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve the particles that cling to the bottom and sides of pan.  Cook until reduced by half and add the chicken broth.  Add the apricot and prune mixture to the pan and bring to a boil and strain the sauce.  Return to pan and add the apricot and prune mixture and reheat.  Add Port slowly and stir.
  10. Optional/Place butter in a pan and swirl it around over high heat until it foams up and then becomes hazelnut brown (do not burn).  Quickly add this to the sauce.
  11. Cut the duck in half or quarters as desired and serve with the sauce. 

Compliments to @DebbieDolce for the addition of the Port.

Serves: 2-4



 (Adapted from “The New York Times Cookbook”  by Craig Claiborne with Pierre Franey)

For this dinner we started with Oyster Stew (one of my favorites) which is a “must have” during the holidays.  This tradition started for me in Goshen, Connecticut in the mid seventies.  A couple friends of mine bought a 200 year old salt box in the Town of Goshen, Connecticut and I spent many happy holiday times with them through the years.  Oyster Stew was part of their tradition and immediately was adopted by me.  That was easy, I love oysters!  When the star of the evening arrived (the duck) I added a delicious coleslaw with tomatoes and brussels sprouts.

Oyster Stew


  • 16 0z. Shucked Oysters and their Liquid
  • 1/2 C. Onion (diced)
  • 1/2 C. Celery (peeled and diced)
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 t. Worcestershire
  • 1 1/2 C – 2 C.  Heavy Cream
  • Freshly Ground Pepper (season to taste)
  • 1-2 oz. Dry Sherry (Optional)
  • Chopped Parsley for Garnish


  1. Pick through the oysters carefully removing any bits of shell
  2. Place in a sauce pan with their liquid and 2 C. of water and heat til the oysters begin to curl
  3. Remove and set aside, strain the liquid and set aside
  4. Simmer the onion and celery in butter in a soup pot until tender (approx. 6 minutes)
  5. Add the oyster liquid and heavy cream and heat “almost” to the boiling point, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Stir in the Worcestershire
  7. Add the oysters and season to taste with pepper
  8. Pour into warmed bowls and add (1 t. sherry to each bowl-Optional) 
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley

 (Serves 4)

(Compliments of John Totino, Architect)

Adapted from the book “Jasper White’s Cooking from New England” by Jasper White



Coleslaw and Tomato Salad


(For the Slaw)

  • 1 Cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 Carrots shredded)
  • 1/2 Onion (grated)
  • 1 C. grape Tomatoes (or your choice)
  • Lettuce leaves

(For the Dressing)

  • 1 1/4 C. Mayonnaise
  • 1/3 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Vinegar
  • 1/4 t. celery seed


  1. Mix cabbage, carrot and onion in large bowl
  2. Add dressing ingredients in separate bowl and whisk
  3. Combine and add salt and pepper
  4. Arrange lettuce on serving plate
  5. Add coleslaw and tomatoes


Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Garlic


  • 1 lb. Brussel Sprouts
  • 4 Slices Bacon
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (chopped fine)
  • 2 T. Butter


  1. Steam brussels sprouts and put in ice bath
  2. Cook bacon until crispy, drain and chop
  3. Pour off most of bacon fat (reserve for future use), add butter
  4. Saute garlic until tender
  5. Add brussels sprouts and bacon and heat

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