Braised duck with figs and apricots recipe

Braised duck with figs and apricots

This month’s tempting recipe from Richard Hughes of  The Lavender House in Brundall is for a warming winter casserole.

In these bleak winter months it’s always nice to combine a touch of luxury with a touch of comfort. This beautiful dish combines local duck with dried fruits, which are often left from the festive celebrations, served in a warming winter casserole.

Duck always seems to be something of an afterthought when it comes to roasts and braised dishes, yet its rich meat means a little can go a long way. Many people are put off by the amount of fat on the duck, but if you are careful to trim of the excess, then it adds great flavour.

You should always try to use a fresh bird, don’t be tempted to buy one from the supermarket freezer section, try a Shingfield duck from Hingham or source one from Nigel Harvey from his city centre shop.

I’ve never found duck to freeze very well – to get a nice, crisp skin the meat should be dry to the touch, and pick a bird that feels heavy in comparison with its size so you’ll get great meat to fat ratio.

This is the sort of dish that’s equally at home on the grandest table or for a mid-week supper, served with creamy mash or, just for a change, some mashed parsnips or celeriac.

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Richard is the chef proprietor of The Lavender House Restaurant at Brundall. He holds regular cookery demonstrations and suppers at the restaurant.

Call 01603 712215 for more details.


1 large, fresh duck, approx 2kg in weight, including the liver300ml red wine300ml chicken stock1 large onion2 cloves garlic1 large orange100g dried apricots100g dried figs2 bay leaves1tsp arrowroot4 slices breadParsley50g butterSalt and pepper


1 Joint the fresh duck, first remove the legs.

2 Remove the breasts.

3 Trim away all the excess fat.

4 Cut into even sized pieces.

5 Fry the seasoned joints in a hot pan until the skin has coloured. Place in a deep casserole pan.

6 Meanwhile, slice an onion, an orange and crush two cloves of garlic. Put these in the casserole.

7 Add the apricots, the fig and the bay leaves.

8 Add the stock and then the red wine.

9 Bring to the boil.

10 Cover and place in a moderate oven 180C/gas mark four for two hours.

11 When the casserole is nearly cooked fry the liver in the butter.

12 Trim the bread to make large croutons.

13 Fry in the same pan in which you fried the duck.

14 Chop the liver.

15 Mix with the butter, add a little chopped parsley. Spread on to the croutons.

16 Remove the duck from the oven, bring the casserole to the boil and finally thicken the sauce with a teaspoon of diluted arrowroot. Serve to the table and accompany with parsnip, potato or celeriac puree.