Thursday 31 May 2007

Recipe: Duck with prunes

I was inspired to do this last weekend, by the fact that at the butchers two duck breasts were going to cost £8, whilst an entire Gressingham would cost only £12. No-brainer. I did the usual thing with the breasts, and used the carcase and giblets for stock - but for some reason, on this occasion the amount of fat I rendered was insufficient to confit the legs and wings. Hence the following....

For Four:

Ingredients: 4 Duck Legs (wing tips as well, if you want); 12 dried prunes, soaked for 2 hours in 3/4 pint of tea (Orange Pekoe is good, but 'Lady Grey' will do just as well); 150g lardons; 1 large Onion, sliced; 3 cloves Garlic; half a teaspoon of Salt; 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a sprig of fresh); 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard; 1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar; 450 ml Red Wine; 350 ml Duck Stock; 3 medium Carrots. Chopped Parsley.
Start this recipe the day before you plan to eat it. It needs to rest overnight and be gently re-heated before being served.
1. Pre-heat Oven to 150 degrees C.
2. In a large, heavy pan, saute the lardons over high heat for five minutes, until well browned, then remove to a casserole.
3. Use the same pan to saute the Duck pieces, turning frequently to ensure they are well-browned all over (this should take about ten minutes), then remove these also to the casserole.
4. If the Duck has thrown off a lot of fat, pour all but two tablespoons out of the pan, then soften the sliced Onion in the fat, and add the onion also to the casserole.
5. Deglaze the frying pan over high heat with the Mustard, Vinegar and a slug of the wine, scraping over the base of the pan with a wooden spoon in order to loosen all of the cooking residue. Pour the contents of the pan into the casserole, and add to this the Garlic (finely chopped), Thyme, and Salt & Pepper. Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and then crosswise, and add these also to the casserole.
6. On the hob, bring the casserole to boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer it for five minutes or so, before covering it, and placing it in the oven. Cook for an hour and a half.
7. Allow to cool down, then refrigerate overnight. On the following day, carefully spoon off all of the solidified surface fat. Gently reheat the contents of the pan; then remove the Duck pieces to a heated platter, and keep warm under foil in a warm oven while you make a sauce by taking the cooking liquid and reducing it fiercely in a small saucepan, to thicken to coating consistency (use a little arrowroot if this is taking too long).
8. Gently re-heat the prunes in their soaking liquid, then drain (if you have soaked them earlier, once they have soaked for two hours, keep the prunes and the liquid separately, but use the soaking liquid for re-heating the prunes just before serving).
8. Put the prunes on one side of the platter with the Duck pieces, and the carrots on the other side , and spoon the lardons over the Duck. Carefully spoon some of the sauce over the duck, placing the remainder in a sauce-boat. Serve sprinkled with chopped Parsley.

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