I ate my first pomegranate in Croatia over 40 years ago & have been fascinated by them ever since. When they are in season I always have one on hand in the fruit bowl to adorn salads and meat dishes.. This will be the most delectable duck to have ever passed your lips. Sticky caramelised goodness on melt-away meat with tiny explosions of pomegranate flavour will leave your guests in silence at the table as they focus entirely on making way for the next mouthful.
For the slow roast duck:
1 large duck, approx 2.8kg
Pre heat the oven to 220C/ 425F/gas mark 7
Prick the duck all over, season with salt and pepper and place on a rack in a roasting tin.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/ 300F/ gas mark 2 and continue to cook for another two hours.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
For the citrus and pomegranate glaze:
250ml pomegranate juice
250ml orange juice
75g soft light brown sugar.
50g pomegranate molasses
15ml coriander seeds
500g banana shallots, peeled and cut in half length ways.
Salt and pepper
Seeds from 1 large pomegranate
Put the pomegranate and orange juices, sugar, molasses and 200ml of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook over a medium/high heat for 20 minutes or until the mixture has a syrupy texture. Add the coriander seeds.
Cook the halved shallots in some rapeseed oil for 5 to 10 minutes until browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pomegranate juice mixture to the pan, cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for around 20 minutes until the shallots are tender. Stir in about a tablespoon of chopped coriander and the pomegranate seeds.
Serve with the carved duck.
Our historical inspiration:
Pomegranate is the symbol of Granada , where Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife lived when she was a small child. When she married Henry VIII she chose the pomegranate as her emblem.
Thomas More’s collection of poems celebrating the marriage of the royal couple, the so-called Coronation Suite, is liberally decorated with intertwined Tudor roses and pomegranates. And the Museum of London houses an archaeological badge showing a pomegranate and a Tudor rose combined.
On how to best select the optimum pomegranate :
From ‘Sir Hugh Plat’s Delightes for Ladies, 1602’
“Keeping of Pomegranats”. Make choice of pomegranates such as are sound and not prickt as they tearme it, lap them over thinly with wax, hang them upon naales, where they may touch nothing , in some cupboard or closet in your bedchamber , wher you keep a continual fire and every 3 or 4 dates turn the undersides uppermost and therefore you must so hang them in packthread, that they may have a bowe knot at either end. This way Pomegranates have been kept fresh till whitsontide.