Spiced Moroccan Duck with Almonds and Apricots

Mead is a versatile cooking ingredient, either as the base of a braising liquid for pork loin or in duck or as a poaching liquid for salmon. Here we pair a semisweet mead with duck, apricots, and warm spices for a cozy autumn meal.

Note: semisweet traditional style mead is best for this recipe. *If you have a local ginger mead with ginger disregard or reduce the grated ginger by 2/3.

Total Time: 30
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds bone-in Duck (chicken) thighs (9 to 11 pieces, depending on size)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 ounces dried apricots, halved
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet mead
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large cast iron heavy skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle duck on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; then add to pan and cook, turning once, until well browned on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Scatter apricots over and around duck, tucking some in underneath, and set aside.

Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons fat from the skillet. Add onion and cook over medium-low heat until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring, another minute. Then add spices and remaining salt and pepper; stir another minute until mixture is fragrant. Pour mead into the skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

Pour the contents of the skillet over duck and apricots. Cover pan tightly with foil and bake in preheated oven until duck is cooked through, about 55 to 60 minutes. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
While duck cooks, toast almonds in a dry, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until light golden brown. Before serving, sprinkle duck with almonds and cilantro. Serve with couscous or Basmati rice .

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