Duck and plum pilaf bake

Duck and plum baked pilaf

Recently, I moved in with my boyfriend, so he’s been making a lot more dinner requests lately. Now, it’s not all been pies, and the other day he suggested something with chicken and summer berries. The man has a sweet tooth.

I, however, do not. My brain just shut down at that one. Later, when I’d recovered, and pored over the resulting mental crash dump, I came out with this:

Duck and plum pilaf bake

It’s a simple one-pot bake that’s basically a lazily asianed-up pilaf.

Plums, ginger, and anise are a classic, but you’ve got to be careful not to let the anise get in the way. There’s a great stew like that in the River Cottage book, but it’s too heavy for spring. The basil’s here to freshen it all though a little and sit with the sweet/sour vibe from the plums, making it a bit lighter for the season. The colours are lovely, too.


  • Duck legs, 2Duck plum baked pilaf
  • Cannellini beans, 1 tin
  • Rice, 200g (maybe a bit less)
  • Plums, 2-3
  • Garlic, 2-3 cloves
  • Ginger, 1cm chunk
  • Chicken stock, 300ml
  • Sherry, 150ml (I used manzanilla)
  • Basil (fresh), a big handful
  • Plum sauce, to glaze
  • Light soy sauce, 2tbsp
  • Anise, 1/2 star
  • Allspice, 1/4 tsp

Serves two, generously. Add an extra duck leg and this would serve three.


Duck and plum pilaf bakeIn a blender or pestle and mortar, blitz up the ginger, basil, garlic, anise, and allspice. Mix with the soy sauce, and 50ml of the sherry. Use this mix to marinade the duck legs for a few hours. Overnight would work nicely.

Remove the duck legs from the marinade when you’re ready to cook. Stone the plums and cut them into quarters. Mix the remaining marinade with the stock and sherry.

Put the rice and beans into a baking tray, and stir in the liquid. Put the duck and plums on top, and bake in a low ish oven (say, 160c), covered with foil, for about 30 mins.

Duck and plum pilaf bakeRemove the foil and raise the heat of the oven to around 200c.

Brush the duck legs liberally with plum sauce to form a glaze. Put it all back in the oven for 40 mins so that the duck skin crisps a little and the liquid is absorbed.

You may want to brush with plum again half way though if you like an intense sweet glaze.

Serve with some greens. I used chard, but pak choi would work well.

It’s certainly substantial. The rice and beans are filling, and soak up the succulent juices from the duck. The plums are sweet/sour, and the soy and anise give an offset.

Pair it with a big chardonnay that’s not too heavy on the honey, or just drink the rest of the manzanilla. I’m very fond of the Pastrana Pasada.


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