2ducks (about 2kg each)2 kgkipfler potatoes, scrubbed, halved1garlic head, cloves separated1 bunchthyme600 gmcherries, pitted125 mlmalmsey (see note)60 ml (¼ cup)chicken stock2 piecesorange rind, removed with a peeler1fresh bay leaf3 bunchesasparagus, trimmedFor drizzling:extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 220C. Wash ducks inside and out under cold running water and pat dry with absorbent paper. Season to taste, place on a rack over a large roasting tray, and roast until starting to brown (20 minutes).
Combine potatoes, garlic and half the thyme in a large roasting tray, carefully spoon over hot duck fat from duck roasting tray (be careful as hot fat will spit), season to taste and stir to coat. Reduce oven to 180C and roast duck and potatoes until duck is almost cooked through (25 minutes).
Carefully remove rack with ducks, set aside. Pour fat from duck roasting tray (discard, or strain and reserve for another use), then add cherries, malmsey, stock, orange rind, bay leaf and remaining thyme to duck roasting tray, season to taste, stir to combine, place ducks and rack back over cherries and roast until duck is cooked through (15-20 minutes; to test, pierce duck thigh with a skewer and juices should run clear). Remove duck, cover loosely with foil and set aside to rest (15-20 minutes). Roast cherry mixture until thick and reduced (10-12 minutes), transfer to a jug and keep warm. Remove potatoes and keep warm.
Meanwhile, blanch asparagus until bright green (2-3 minutes), drain, drizzle with a little olive oil, season to taste, keep warm.
Carve duck and serve hot with roast kipfler potatoes, asparagus and cherry sauce.
Note Malmsey is a sweet Madeira wine made from
the malvasia grape. If unavailable, substitute Madeira.