“This recipe is adapted from my time at Moro,” says Freddy. “It’s classically made using poached chicken, but I’ll be using duck and serving it at home for Christmas lunch.”
Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7.
Sprinkle the duck liberally with fine salt and pepper and rub the ground spices on the duck skin. Then place it in a roasting tray on a trivet of celery, carrot, onion, garlic and all the duck giblets and put into the oven for 30 minutes.
Simmer all the stock ingredients together for 15-20 minutes, then strain.
After the duck’s been roasting for 30 minutes, add the strained chicken stock and lower the temperature to 150C/300F/gas mark 2, and cook for a further 90 minutes (approx.). The meat is not going to be pink but well done – it will, however, still be incredibly moist and juicy!
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the dish. For the pilaf, thoroughly wash the rice (as much as you think you’ll want, depending on how many are eating) and leave to soak in cold water for about 1 hour to get rid of any starchiness.
When the rice is ready, heat the chicken stock and, in a separate saucepan, brown a large knob of butter. Add the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick to the butter, then the drained rice. Cook over a high heat for a few seconds before adding the stock (it should covering the rice by about ½cm) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then cover with a tight fitting lid, turn the heat down and cook for a further 8 minutes. Do not be tempted to lift the lid. The rice will hopefully catch a little on the bottom of the pan – remember to scrape up those crispy bits!
For the tomato sauce, lightly brown the sliced garlic in olive oil. Add the bay leaves, cinnamon, tomatoes, and a pinch of salt and sugar. Cook for about 20 minutes over a low heat, making sure it remains nice and wet.
Slice open the pittas, melt some butter, then brush the breads with it and cook in the oven until golden and crispy. Then break up into chunks and leave to cool on a rack.
Dice the aubergine into 1 ½cm chunks, season and leave in a colander with a bowl underneath for 20 minutes. Then fry in olive oil until cooked and golden.
For the brown butter, fry a large knob of butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat. The curds will sink to the bottom and start to catch, then they’ll go golden and begin to smell rich and caramelised. Careful you don't take it too far and burn it. Set aside in a small ramekin.
Drain the chickpeas and warm them up. Mix the crushed garlic clove with the yoghurt
To plate, put the crisp bread chunks around the edges of a big sharing dish, then arrange the pilaf in the middle. Shred large chucks of duck and skin over this and pour over any remaining roasting juices (you don't want it to be swimming, just juicy). Scatter over the warm aubergine and chickpeas.
Next pour over the tomato sauce – but don’t swamp it – then drizzle over the yoghurt followed by the brown butter. Finally, sprinkle over the pine nuts and a good amount of roughly chopped parsley. I like to sprinkle over a few Aleppo pepper flakes for a slight kick, too. Eat it whilst it’s warm!