My show stopping pomegranate molasses roasted duck and all the delicious side dishes are perfect for your holiday celebration. This post is sponsored by Calphalon. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Beyond Sweet and Savory possible.
With my favorite holiday, Christmas, right around the corner, I’m literally counting down the days. As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I went into full planning mode for all the Christmas festivities from the decorations, gifting, and Christmas dinner, to weekend brunch. I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Calphalon to bring you a special Christmas dinner menu from the spectacular main to the winning side dishes. While the sides rotate every year, it’s always been a tradition for us to roast a duck for Christmas dinner. You’ll love this easy and flavorful pomegranate molasses roasted duck paired with potatoes, apricot and pistachio herb stuffing, and a refreshing radicchio salad.
How to make the stuffing
When it comes to stuffing, skip the packaged stuff and make your own. For the bread stuffing base, you just need your favorite day-old bread, fresh herbs, shallots, and garlic. Mix things up by adding your favorite nuts, dried fruits, and even fresh fruits. To spruce up the stuffing, I added dried apricots for sweetness and pistachios for texture. If you don’t like apricots, feel free to substitute with dried cherries, cranberries, or golden raisin. Other nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts make a great alternative to pistachios.
To make the stuffing, melt unsalted butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. I love using my Calphalon Premier™ Hard-Anodized Nonstick pan for this job. Their superior, nonstick performance, 40% more than the classic, allows effortless food release and makes cleaning a breeze. Saute the shallots and the garlic until fragrant. Add in the bread crumbs, orange rind, pistachios, and apricot then season it to your liking. You can either use this stuffing to fill the cavity of the duck or you can transfer the whole pan to the oven for everything to crisp up.
How to make the pomegranate molasses glaze
Throughout my childhood, I enjoyed duck in various Vietnamese meals from roasted duck to duck congee. When I started cooking, I fell in love with Middle Eastern flavors like pomegranate molasses, za’atar, sumac, and harissa. Over the years, I’ve found a duck recipe that incorporates both my heritage and love of Middle Eastern flavor. This glaze gives a nod to beautiful notes of cinnamon, star anise, and cloves but has its own delicious Middle Eastern twist with the pomegranate molasses. To make the glaze, blood orange juice, zest, honey, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves are cooked on the stove until the volume is reduced by half and becomes syrupy.
Tips for a crispy duck
Having cooked ducks for six decades, my mom taught me a few tricks to getting a crispy duck. The key to crisp skin is to have the skin very dry before roasting it. First the duck is boiled in hot water for a few minutes until the skin contracts. Then you remove all the moisture with a paper towel and leave the duck in the fridge to dry further for 2 hours before roasting. If you leave it in the fridge overnight, it will be even crispier.
When ready to roast, brush the duck with the pomegranate molasses glaze and let it sit on a bed of potatoes. Cooking the duck this way allows the fat to be rendered from the duck. The duck fat will flavor the potatoes and make them rich and flavorful. If you love those duck fat fries, you’ll enjoy these potatoes. I love how my Calphalon Premier™ Nonstick 12-inch fry pan was big enough to accommodate two pounds of potatoes along with the 6-pound duck. At this stage, you can choose to fill the duck’s cavity with herb stuffing or skip it altogether and serve the stuffing separately. The whole pan went directly from the stove to oven for 90 minutes at 375 degrees F.
After 90 minutes in the oven, let the duck rest for 15 minutes before serving. You’ll be rewarded with the most flavorful, succulent, and tender meat. When it comes to poultry, duck is my favorite to cook. Its meat falls somewhere between other birds and true red meat and along with the fat, you get an incredible depth of flavor!
When ready to serve, place the finished duck on a serving tray and garnish with blood orange wedges, pomegranates, and eucalyptus leaves or whatever you fancy. This spectacular main will have everyone at the table eagerly waiting for a taste. The burst of citrus, sweet tart pomegranate molasses, and spiced note of cinnamon, star anise, and cloves bring a tsunami of flavor and cut through the richness of the duck. With every bite, you get succulent, tender, and flavorful meat that will make you want to reach for more. I’m so happy to be able to partner with Calphalon to bring you this show stopping pomegranate molasses roasted duck and all the delicious side dishes for your holiday celebration! Have a delicious and safe Christmas!
For more holiday menu inspiration, check these recipes: fennel roasted pork belly, lemon thyme poached turkey breast, easy roasted turkey, harissa roasted carrots, za’atar roasted romanesco steak, honey roasted hasselback butternut squash, roasted carrot and cashew soup, Jerusalem artichoke soup, pear and radicchio salad.
Pomegranate molasses roasted duck
Pomegranate molasses roasted duck
- 6 pound duck
- 2 tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 pounds small yellow potatoes
- ½ cup fresh blood orange juice
- 4 strips of orange peel
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise
- 5 cloves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Apricot pistachio herb stuffing
- 4 tbsps unsalted butter
- 2 shallots, roughly diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ cup unsalted pistachios
- 2 cups bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon thyme, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Use a skewer to pierce the skin of the duck all over.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse the whole duck in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove the duck from heat and use a paper towel to dry its skin.
- Place it on a wire rack over a baking sheet and leave it in the refrigerator for 2 hours so the skin can dry.
- To make the pomegranate molasses glaze, in a small saucepan, combine orange juice, orange strips, honey, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, star anise, and cloves. Let the mixture cook over medium heat for 25-30 minutes until the mixture is reduced by half and becomes syrupy. Set it aside to cool. Reserve ½ cup for serving.
- To make the stuffing, melt butter in a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they become soft and fragrant. Add the breadcrumbs, orange rind, herbs, pistachios, and apricot and let them cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.When ready to roast, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter and potatoes. Let the potatoes brown on both sides for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Remove the duck from the fridge. Season the inside and outside generously with salt and pepper. Brush it all over with the pomegranate molasses glaze.
- Fill the cavity with herb stuffing and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Place the glazed duck, breast up, on top of the bed of potatoes and roast in the oven for 90 minutes until golden brown. Reglaze the duck every 30 minutes. Halfway through, if the skin starts to brown too much, place a large piece of foil over the duck to prevent it from burning.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the duck rest for 15 minutes.
- Place the duck on a serving platter, pour the reserved glaze over the duck. Garnish with blood orange wedges, pomegranate, and fresh herbs or eucalyptus leaves.
- Serve immediately with the stuffing, potatoes, and a light salad.