In this article, we explore different versions of a classic duck dish. From an adaptation of a rustic 14th-century French recipe to modern interpretations, we’ll delve into the variations and techniques to create a delicious meal. Join us on this culinary journey!
Version 1: Rediscovering the Rustic Flavors
In her book, Recipes of all Nations, Marcelle Morphy shares an adaptation of a quaint original recipe from Le Grand Cuisinier de Toute Cuisine, a French culinary masterpiece from the 14th century. Unfortunately, this rustic version has been overshadowed by a more elaborate boned variation popularized by Prosper Montagne in his Larousse Gastronomique. Let’s uncover the essence of Countess Morphy’s Dodine de Canard.
- 2 kg duck, jointed into 8 pieces
- 600 ml dry red wine
- 250 g mushrooms, quartered
- 200 g onions, sliced
- 100 ml brandy
- 30 ml olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- Handful of parsley
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Large pinch of salt
- Large pinch of pepper
- Marinate the duck pieces with brandy, onions, wine, salt, and pepper. Let it sit for three hours.
- Strain the marinade liquid and pat the duck pieces dry.
- Sear the duck pieces in olive oil over high heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the marinade liquid, herbs, garlic, and mushrooms.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 60 minutes.
- Serve the duck with the cooking liquid and a selection of vegetables.
Version 2: The Boned and Stuffed Delight
This adaptation explores a boned and stuffed version of the duck dish.
- 2 kg duck
- 1 liter broth
- 250 g fatty bacon/pork belly (half fat-half flesh), finely chopped
- 250 g pork tenderloin, finely chopped
- 250 g veal, finely chopped
- 250 g white mushrooms, chopped
- Duck liver, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 45 g ground almonds
- 1 slice of fresh foie gras (optional)
- 45 ml brandy/cognac
- 15 g + 5 g salt
- 15 g butter
- 10 g ground mixed spices (caraway, cinnamon, cloves, fennel)
- 5 g + 5 g black pepper
- 5 parsley stalks with leaves, chopped
- 5 sage leaves, chopped
- Carefully debone the duck, keeping the skin intact. Cut the flesh into small pieces, reserving the breasts.
- Marinate the strips of duck breast in brandy or cognac, along with half of the ground spices. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Season the skin on both sides.
- Sauté the duck liver in butter for a few minutes, then let it cool.
- Combine the bacon, pork loin, veal, duck flesh, liver, and spices. Add the almonds, eggs, mushrooms, parsley, and sage. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Spread the mixture over the duck skin. Place the marinated breast strips on top. Fold and tie the skin tightly.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Place the duck in a casserole dish, pour in the broth and the marinade liquid, and cook for approximately two hours, basting occasionally.
- Allow the duck to rest for a few minutes before removing the string.
- For a cold variation, cool the duck in the liquid, remove the string, and cover it with the resulting jelly. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Serve the cold duck sliced, accompanied by a fresh salad.
Version 3: A Modern Twist
In this version, we present a contemporary interpretation of the classic duck dish.
- 3 x 350 g duck fillets, skinned
- 250 g duck liver, sliced
- 200 g pork loin, chopped
- 200 g veal, chopped
- 150 g fat bacon, chopped
- 130 ml brandy
- 100 ml white wine
- 80 g 1-day-old white bread roll
- 45 ml milk
- 45 g truffles, sliced (optional)
- 20 g butter
- 12 sliced sage leaves
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- Large pinch of black pepper
- Large pinch of salt
- 1 pork caul
- Slice the duck fillets into 2cm thick slices and marinate them in brandy and seasonings overnight.
- Soak the bread roll in milk for 20 minutes, then squeeze out the excess liquid.
- In a separate pan, brown the duck liver in butter, then let it cool.
- Combine the allspice, bacon, bread, duck, liver, pork, sage, remaining seasonings, and veal in the marinade liquid.
- Soak the pork caul in cold water.
- Stuff the caul with the meat mixture and tie it with string.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the caul in a baking tray and bake at 160°C for two hours.
- Allow the duck to cool in the liquid, then refrigerate for 12 hours before serving.
Version 4: Slow-Cooked Perfection
This version focuses on slow-cooking the duck in broth.
- 2 liters broth
- 1.5 kg duck
- 500 g pork tenderloin, sliced
- 250 g veal, sliced
- Sliced duck liver
- 2 eggs
- 15 ml brandy
- 10 g salt
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp pepper
- Butter (for frying)
- Carefully open the duck from the back and remove the flesh and excess fat while keeping the skin intact. Debone the breasts.
- Slice the breast into small strips.
- Fry the duck liver in butter for five minutes, then let it cool.
- Combine the remaining duck flesh with the liver, pork, veal, allspice, pepper, salt, eggs, and brandy in a large bowl.
- Season the spread-out duck skin with pepper and spoon the meat mixture onto the center.
- Salt the strips of duck breast and arrange them evenly over the mixture.
- Fold and sew the edges of the duck skin, creating a tight seal. Wrap the duck in muslin and tie both ends.
- Place the duck in a large pot with the broth. Bring it to a slow boil and simmer for two hours.
- Serve the duck hot or cold.
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