Butternut Squash and Onion Garnishes
1 small butternut squash
1 red onion, sliced in rings 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup canned beet juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Bake squash 45 minutes or microwave about 5 minutes. Remove seeds, thinly slice, and set aside. Marinate onion in remaining ingredients for an hour.
Duck and Port Sauce
6 dried Calimyrna or other figs, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup ruby port
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 four-pound duck, giblets removed
1 1/2 cups duck stock (directions below) or canned chicken broth
1 onion, peeled and quartered (to make stock)
1 carrot, halved (to make stock)
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
1 tablespoon duck fat or butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons red currant jelly
1 tablespoon butter
Soak figs in port 2 hours to overnight; reserve port.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper duck, prick skin liberally, and place on a rack in a roasting pan with an inch of water in bottom of pan. Put lid on pan and seal with foil. Steam for 1 hour. Remove duck, reserving pan juices. Chill until cool enough to handle. Halve duck lengthwise by cutting down center of breast and down backbone. Remove wings, tucking remaining skin in the hole for a neat appearance. Return to refrigerator.
(To make duck stock, simmer 2 cups of the reserved pan juices, bones, wings, onion, and carrot for an hour. Strain and refrigerate. Skim off excess fat.) Sauté shallots in duck fat over medium heat until translucent. Deglaze pan with reserved port, then add stock, soy sauce, red currant jelly, and figs. Cook sauce over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, reducing by two thirds, until glossy and the thickness of cream gravy. Just before serving, stir in 1 tablespoon butter.
Slice breast meat 1 inch thick, but do not cut all the way through; do not slice leg meat. Place duck halves under a broiler 4 to 5 minutes (check periodically), until crisp and golden brown.
To serve, put duck and figs on a plate and drizzle with sauce. Garnish with onions and squash. Serves 2.