Captain’s Table Christmas // Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Roast Duck with Boozy Chestnut-Apple Stuffing

Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Christmas Duck #CaptainsTable #Christmas

 I can’t believe Christmas is only ten days away. I was in St. Petersburg for a quick trip from last Tuesday to Saturday, then yesterday flew over to Madrid. It’s always exciting to travel, but both trips have been fairly busy, and I’m missing out on critical Christmas-preparation time (thank God for Amazon Prime). Knowing I would feel this way, I made sure that last weekend was Christmas-activity heavy – we went and picked out a tree (our first! Trevor even let me take a gratuitous self-timer picture in front of it), played carols, watched Love Actually, and made this gorgeous roasted duck for the next round of the Captain Morgan Captain’s Table Challenge.

Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Christmas Duck with Boozy Chestnut-Apple Stuffing #CaptainsTable #Christmas

Gratuitous Christmas Tree Picture

After making a sweetish side-dish for the last round, we knew that this time around we wanted to do a stunning, savory, Christmas dinner centerpiece. This whole roast duck with a pomegranate, orange and rum glaze is just that. The flavors are a perfect mix of fruity, bright, herbal, and salty; the skin is golden and crispy; the meat is tender. Surrounded by a boozy chestnut, apple, and pancetta stuffing that echoes all the flavors in the duck itself, it’s the perfect thing to grace your Christmas dinner table if you’re having a small gathering. I genuinely loved the complexity the rum gave to both the duck and the stuffing, and I might have to make the whole thing again soon even if just for a cozy Sunday night dinner.

Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Christmas Duck with Boozy Chestnut-Apple Stuffing #CaptainsTable #Christmas

Also, I have to take a moment to brag here (not a humblebrag, I’m still working on that skill) – Trevor and I won the first round of the Captain’s Table Challenge with our sweet-potato souffle and sparkling cranberry-ginger cocktail! I think the most exciting part for me is that Hugh Acheson was the judge, and it feels quite validating to have a successful chef say your recipe seems decent. Finding out was just the momentum we needed to come up with this duck recipe. Stay tuned for our drinkable submission to the Christmas round later this week – Trevor’s been testing out cocktails while I’ve been away, so he’s getting to be an expert on rum-based Christmas drinks.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Captain Morgan, who provided me with product samples and monetary compensation in exchange for my participation in this program. All opinions are honest and my own, as always.

Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Christmas Duck with Boozy Chestnut-Apple Stuffing #CaptainsTable #Christmas

Rum-and-Pomegranate Glazed Roast Duck

Serves 4.

For the duck:

  • One 5-lb. whole duck
  • 1 TBS coarse sea salt
  • 1 TBS finely chopped rosemary + 3 whole sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • juice from 1 orange
  • 2 c. pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 c. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • pomegranate-rum glaze (see below)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Remove giblets from cavity of duck and reserve for another use. Pat the duck dry and place on a cutting board. Cut off any excess skin, as well as the wing tips (to prevent burning). Truss the bird by tying the legs together over the front side using kitchen twine, tucking the tail between the legs. Score fat on breast-side of duck all over in a cross-hatch pattern, making sure to cut down to the meat. Flip the duck over and prick the back and the legs all over with a sharp knife.
  2. Add the salt, 1 TBS of chopped rosemary, black pepper, and orange zest to a mortar and pestle, and pound until rosemary is crushed and mixture is somewhat moist. Rub the paste all over the duck, making sure to get under the skin. Place the duck in a roasting pan. Pour the orange juice, pomegranate juice, and rum over the duck into the bottom of the pan – bottom of the pan should be covered by liquid to a depth of a quarter inch, if it is not, add more pomegranate juice. Add the rosemary sprigs to the liquid, and place duck in the oven.
  3. Roast the duck, for 2 hours and 30 minutes, basting the duck with the pan juices every 15-20 minutes. Before the last 15 minutes of cooking, take the duck out of the oven and brush all over with the prepared glaze, then finish off. Let rest 5-10 minutes before carving.

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 c. drippings
  • 1/2 c. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • 1/4 c. pomegranate molasses
  • juice from 1/2 orange
  1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to a syrup, about 10-15 minutes.

Boozy Chestnut-Apple Stuffing

Inspired by Yankee Magazine. Serves 4.

  • 1 large baguette, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, cored and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 c. roasted chestnuts
  • 1 TBS minced fresh rosemary
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 c. chicken stock
  • 1/4 c. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden brown and crispy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Place a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the cubed pancetta and fry until crispy on all sides, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and apple to the pan with the pancetta fat and saute until the onion is soft and translucent and the apples are beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Toss the onion and apple with the cooked pancetta, then stir in the chestnuts and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, chicken stock, and rum. Add the toasted bread crumbs to this mixture and toss to coat, then add the apple-chestnut mixture and stir to combine. Butter a medium baking dish, then pour the stuffing into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the top of the stuffing is golden and crispy, about 30-35 minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.

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  1. Pingback: Weekly Dinner Ideas: Holiday Dinner Favorites - The Nest Blog

  2. OMG DUCK! I’m an absolute duck fanatic and this looks irresistible enough to make me lobby for swapping out the traditional roast beef at our table for something a little more. . . fowl (I’m hilarious.) Thanks for a great, boozy recipe. I’m in love.

  3. Looks delicious! I am going to follow your recipe for Christmas this year. Do you turn the duck at any point or just cook it the full 2 and a half hours breast side up? any other advice much appreciated :)

    • That’s great, I hope it turns out well for you! We didn’t turn the duck over at all, since it was raised off the bottom of the pan in the roasting rack it got evenly browned all over without flipping. If you’re basting it and it seems like it’s getting too crispy, don’t be afraid to turn the heat down. Let me know how it goes!

  4. I’m making duck for the first time this Christmas and this recipe sounds perfect! Could you make the stuffing in a slow cooker? I only have one oven, so won’t be able to make the duck and the stuffing at the same time.

    • Hi Brooke! I don’t have a slow cooker so I can’t really say if stuffing would work. What I would recommend is cooking the stuffing in advance, then popping it in to reheat for 5-10 minutes while you let the duck rest before serving. The crispiness of the top of the stuffing is so good and I’m not sure it would be the same without the dry heat of an oven! Let me know how everything turns out :-)

  5. I decided to try this recipe for Christmas (today) and our duck, what was left of it, was ok. The temp for the oven, I think was too hot. 450 degrees for 2 1/2 hours!!!! The duck was severely scorched to say the least. I did not leave the temp at 450, maybe for half an hour. I turned it down several times, covered the duck and hoped for the best…. Best it was not… I’ve never had a problem with recipes off the internet, but this one was very disappointing.

    • Hi Monica – I’m so sorry to hear your duck came out burnt! The high temperature helps give the duck it’s nice crispy skin, but oven temperatures can be inconsistent (our duck was fine at that temperature), and the cooking time should vary with the weight of the bird. Sounds like you tried all the right things to keep it moist – I hope dessert turned out better!


  6. I made this for dinner tonight and I hate to say it but the oven temp is way too high. I turned it down after all the juices in the bottom of the pan started to burn about 30 minutes in. I had to add water so it didn’t continue to burn. The rub was delicious as was the glaze but I took it out a half hour early and it was seriously over cooked already. I think it would be perfect if the right temp and time were found.

    • Thank you for sharing, Cat – I’m sorry it didn’t work out! I’m going to re-test this based on your feedback and will update the recipe here with a different cooking time or temperature if needed.

  7. Are you laying the duck in the bottom of the pan? Or is it on a rack?
    Are you saying that all the fat juices get mixed in with the pom juice mix in the bottom of the pan?

    • Hi Christine,

      The first time I made this, I believe I did it in the bottom of the pan. It was a few years ago, though. If I made it now, I think I would try to rest the duck on a rack or on some vegetables to keep it out of the fat. Sorry that the recipe doesn’t specify! I am planning on re-testing this soon so will update the recipe then. In the meantime, please let me know how it works for you!


  8. So 450 for 40 min is over cooking the duck if you like it mid rare. I’d say, 450 for 30 min. Most sites recommend cooking at 325. Flavor is great, duck a bit dry an too well for me.

    • Hi Donovan, thanks so much for the feedback. The next time I make this I’ll re-test the cooking time and update here!

  9. Hey :) Your recipe looks amazing! I will do it for our christmas dinner. What kind of sauce do you reckon will go well with it? Best, Marlen