This was my first ever venture cooking duck and I think it turned out fairly well. The recipe itself was superb but I think I could have browned the duck a bit more in the pan so that more of the fat rendered. All in all, it was a tasty dish with with a delicate sweetness from the figs, apricots, and creme de cassis, paired with savory goodness from the garlic, duck, and red wine. My personal favorite part was the sweet potatoes. They got so wonderfully soft and soaked up the delicious sauce.
Ducklings Stewed in Red Wine and Winter Fruits
recipe from The New Basics Cookbook
- 4 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup prepared beef stock
- 1 lb dried figs (I used a mixture of Turkish and Black Mission)
- 3 lbs sweet potatoes
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter (whether this is needed or not is debatable as the duck has a TON of its own fat)
- 3 ducklings (4 1/2 lbs each), well-rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 6 pieces each
- coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup creme de cassis (black currant flavored liqueur)
- 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
- fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Combine 3 cups of the wine and the stock in a saucepan, and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the figs, and set aside.
- Peel the potatoes, and cut them into balls with a melon baller; you should have about 4 cups. Place the potato balls in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, then drain the potatoes and set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt the butter in a large deep flameproof casserole or dutch oven. Brown the ducklings, a few pieces at a time, over medium heat. (While the ducks are browning, it may be necessary to pour off some of the fat. There should be no more than 4 tablespoons in the casserole.) As they are browned, transfer the pieces to a plate.
- When all the duck has been browned, pour off any remaining fat from the casserole and return it to the heat. Add the remaining 1 cup wine and bring to a boil over medium heat, scraping up any brown bits in the casserole.
- Return the duckling to the casserole, and sprinkle it with the pepper. Add the figs and their soaking liquid, the potatoes, and the apricots, garlic, creme de cassis, and brown sugar. Stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Cover the casserole, transfer it to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Then stir it thoroughly, and bake another 30 minutes.
- Arrange the duck, fruits, and vegetables on a large serving platter. Skim the grease from the sauce. Pour a bit of the degreased sauce over the duck, and sprinkle it with the parsley. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.