Duck is the ideal main attraction for a smaller Christmas gathering, particularly when spiced and paired with lush summer figs.
- 2 red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 duck (about 2.2kg)
- 500 ml (2 cups) pomegranate juice
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 4-6 figs, halved lengthways
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salad of purslane (see note) or wild rocket, plus extra purslane leaves, to serve
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- ½ cinnamon quill
- 10 black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
- Pinch of finely grated nutmeg
- 1For spice powder, dry-roast spices in a small frying pan over low heat until fragrant (10 seconds; see cook's notes), then finely grind with a mortar and pestle. Stir through 1 tsp salt flakes.
- 2Preheat oven to 175°C. Place onion in a roasting pan, top with duck and drizzle with oil, then sprinkle over spice powder to taste (you may not need it all). Add 125ml water to pan, then roast duck, topping up water to prevent pan from burning, until duck is tender (2-21/2 hours). Set duck aside to rest.
- 3Meanwhile, 30 minutes before duck has finished cooking, simmer pomegranate juice in a saucepan over medium heat until reduced by two-thirds (20 minutes). Stir through sugar, then pour over onions and figs in roasting pan and bake until tender (10 minutes).
- 4Transfer duck to a platter with figs (and onion, optional). Serve with pan juices and extra purslane, with salad on the side.
To dry-roast spices, cook it in a dry pan, stirring over medium-high heat until fragrant. Cooking time varies. Purslane is available from select greengrocers and may need to be ordered ahead.