Chinese Five-Spice Duck With Fennel & Olives

I purchased my duck from my local butcher but they are often available from delis or online. Reserve any duck fat drained from the roasting pan to roast potatoes at a later date. If fennel bulbs are unavailable, use celery and a few fennel seeds.

2.1kg duck, thawed, any giblets removed
4 shallots, sliced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
handful fennel fronds
1 teaspoon each: salt, Chinese five-spice
Vegetables: 1 each: large red onion, fennel bulb
8 large pitted green olives
Glaze: 1 tablespoon each: liquid honey, hoisin sauce
Gravy: 1 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
1-2 tablespoons browned flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Roast: Wash the duck and pat dry inside and out. Stuff with the shallots, celery and fennel fronds. Tie with string to keep a good shape. Sprinkle evenly with the salt and Chinese five-spice. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 2 hours to dry the skin.

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan, breast-side up. Roast for 35 minutes per 500g.

Vegetables: Halve the onion and fennel bulb lengthwise. Cut each half into 4 wedges lengthwise. After 30 minutes, drain any fat from the roasting pan. Add the onion, fennel bulb and olives.

Continue cooking, draining the fat from the pan a further once or twice during cooking. During the last 10 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 180°C. Brush the duck with the combined honey and hoisin sauce. This will help make the skin dark and slightly crisp.

Gravy: Meanwhile, boil the chicken stock and Chinese five-spice for 3-4 minutes.

Remove the duck, vegetables and olives to a platter and stand in a warm place. Drain the fat from the roasting pan. Pour in a half a cup of chicken stock and mix well with any juices in the pan. Pour into a small bowl. Add a quarter of the roasted red onion and fennel. This gives the gravy great flavour. Mix until smooth with a hand blender.

Pour back into the remaining chicken stock. Mix the flour to a smooth paste with a little water then whisk into the gravy, boiling until thickened. Season.

Great served with roasted yams, steamed Shanghai cabbage and Selaks Pinot Noir. Serves 4.

Columns by Jan Bilton
Jan & Co
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