In the days of the old Cape, fowl of any shape and size was popular on the menu, from Muscovy duck to guinea fowl, partridge and wild peacock. While chicken is the most popular bird for cooking today, duck offers that something extra for a special occasion. The ideal meat for sweet flavours and scented spices, we suggest you glaze the duck with ginger and cumin and serves it with a side of wild rice, pomegranate and dried apricots. Being generously available, thanks to the spice route,) spices such as ginger and cumin were everyday flavours at the Cape. Pomegranate and quince trees grew in every fruit orchard and fruit such as apricots and peaches were often preserved or dried for winter months. And the rice? Yes, in her diary, Lady Anne Barnard commented on the quality of Cape-grown rice!
Recipe for duck
2,2 kg duck
For the glaze
20 g fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 cup preserved ginger (chopped) and syrup
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup pomegranate juice
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the glaze and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190 °C.
Dry the skin of the duck with a paper towel, season with salt and leave for 30 minutes.
Place on a roasting rack in a roasting tray, then place into the preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes per kg.
30 minutes before the duck is done, brush with the glaze, place back into the oven for 10 minutes and brush with the glaze again.
Repeat this process until the duck is cooked and has a deep golden brown colour.
If the duck becomes too brown before it is cooked, cover loosely with foil.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Wild rice, pomegranate and cranberries
2 cups wild rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pomegranate kernels
2 cups kale, blanched and finely sliced
¼ cup dried apricots
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup chopped chives
Maldon salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place the wild rice in a medium-size sauce-pot, cover with water and season with a teaspoon of salt.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until rice is cooked.
Strain and rinse rice.
Mix with the rest of the ingredients.
100 ml olive oil
½ cup finely chopped red onion
10 ml fynbos honey
10 ml apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fine salt
Juice and zest of one lemon
Blend all ingredients for the dressing until creamy.
Chef’s note: The rice can be served warm or at room temperature as a side dish or with the carved duck on a serving platter. Sprinkle some extra pomegranate kernels after plating – they add a lovely red lustre to your plate!
Wine recommendation: 2013 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier has received much acclaim, such as having been selected as the Top South African Wine at the 2015 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Fair. With exquisitely integrated fruit and spice, the wine is complex, without compromising elegance, and makes for a versatile partner at the dinner table.