S.A.L.T. Festive Feast: Roast Duck with Prunes and Port from the Faroe Islands
As we journey north to the Faroe Islands, we turn for inspiration to Teitur Christensen, chef of Áarstova, a classic restaurant in the old part of Tórshavn. “In the old days, the traditional Faroese Christmas dinner was fermented cod or fermented lamb,” Christensen reports. “The subarctic coastal climate here combined with the salty brisk air creates the perfect conditions for air-drying and preserving meat. Around Christmas time, the meat is usually perfectly fermented and ready to eat.”
Though fermented lamb is still found on some holiday tables, the chef says that “the most common Christmas dish in the Faroe Islands today is roast duck or goose, inspired by the Danes. And as it would be difficult for people with no connection to the Faroe Islands to prepare a dish with fermented lamb, I would like to share my recipe of roasted with you, which is also quite traditional for the holidays.”
Christensen’s duck has much to recommend it. With its port-soaked prunes, sautéed cabbage and fragrant, warming flavors of clove, star anise, cinnamon and red currant, it’s sure to send you into some reverie of Christmas feasts past—even if you have yet to visit the Faroe Islands.
- 1 duck, about 3 kg
- 150g prunes
- 1 dl tawny Port wine
- 2 acidic red apples
- 1 red onion
For the sauce:
- 2 carrots
- 2 shallots
- Zest of 2 organic oranges
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 star anise
- 5 bay leafs
- 1 clove
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 dl tawny port
- 1 liter of water
- Red currant jam, to taste
- 100 g flour
- Soak the prunes in port overnight.
- Turn your oven on to 250F/120C.
- Rinse and cut up the carrots, shallots, garlic. Place them in a roasting pan with the orange zest, star anise, bay leafs, cloves, water and the port. Set a cooling rack or grid on top of pan to hold the duck.
- Dice red onion and apples. Stuff the duck with a mix of the apples, red onion and the port-soaked prunes. Close it up with some roasting pins or truss with string. Place the duck on the grid and rub the skin with in a little oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast the duck for 4-5 hours or until it internal temperature reads 158-167F/ 70-75C. Baste the duck a couple of times during the roasting with the duck fat that’s collected in the pan.
- Let duck rest for 15-30 min before you cut it.
For the sauce:
- Skim fat from the liquids in roasting pan, and reserve. Crush everything a little with your spoon, so you get all of the jus from the pan. Deglaze the pan with ½ l of water and then again skim fat.
- Put the skimmed fat in a pot and heat it up with the flour to make a roux.
- Slowly pour the jus in to the roux to thicken the sauce.
- Add a little red currant jam, salt and pepper and taste. If you want it a little more thick, reduce it some more. If it needs some acid, then give it a squeeze of orange juice and some of the juices from the red cabbage (see recipe) that you serve with it.