Courier Life Food

Berber and Q’s fesenjan roast duck

A Middle East-inspired roast duck recipe from Josh Katz, co-founder of Haggerston restaurant Berber and Q.

25 Nov 2016

I got into cooking north African and Middle Eastern-influenced food during my two years at Ottolenghi. I’ve always been surrounded by it; I lived on Edgware Road for seven years, and grew up in Golders Green.

Berber and Q came about because I’ve also got a love for American barbecue food, and I felt there was an opportunity to marry all my influences and inspirations. Almost every country has their barbecue culture – Turkish, Moroccan, Thai, Argentinian; fire is our most primitive form of cookery.

Fesenjan is a sharp, hearty Iranian stew sauce, with pomegranate molasses and walnuts, that accompanies duck very well. Duck lends itself to sharp flavours, meaning beetroot goes well with it. I think beetroot and duck are like parma ham and melon; they’re supposed to go together.


Honey and cardamom-glazed roast duck with fesenjan sauce, served with grilled Brussels and pan-roasted beetroot
Ingredients (serves 2-3) 
For the duck For the fesenjan sauce For the honey and cardamom glaze
1 duck (1.2-1.5kg) 40ml olive oil

2 tbsp honey

1 orange, halved 2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp orange blossom water

Rosemary, a few sprigs 1 tsp cinnamon, ground  1 tbsp boiling water
Thyme, a few sprigs 1 tsp turmeric, ground  1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed
Salt and pepper 150g walnuts, roasted until golden, then shelled and pulsed until coarsely ground  Salt and pepper
1½ tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
½ tbsp date syrup (optional)

200ml pomegranate juice

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp sugar

300ml chicken stock

Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 220ºC.

Begin with preparing the duck. Stuff the cavity with the two orange halves and herb sprigs. Season liberally all over the duck with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity.

Place the duck on the top shelf and roast for 25 minutes at 220ºC, before turning the temperature down to 180ºC to roast for a further 2 1/2 hours.

While the duck is roasting, prepare the fesenjan sauce. Sweat the shallots in the olive oil in a heavy saucepan on a medium-low heat until soft and translucent.

Add the spices and tomato paste and cook out for a further two minutes, before adding the walnuts and the remaining ingredients to the pan.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1-1½ hours until thickened. Check the seasoning of the sauce. It should be the right balance of sweet and sour.

Once ready, set the sauce to one side to be reheated if necessary once the duck has been carved.

To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a pan and cook over medium heat until reduced to a glaze-like consistency.

Fifteen minutes before the duck is ready, brush the glaze liberally over the skin of the duck before returning it to the oven. You can repeat this step through the course of the last fifteen minutes with any leftover glaze there may be.

Remove the duck from the oven and place on a carving board or resting rack, and allow to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes, lightly covered in tin foil to retain any escaping heat.

Carve the duck into quarters and sit atop the fesenjan sauce on a warmed serving plate.