Duck Braised With Prunes
By Chef John Ash
This simple French inspired rustic braise is served with sautéed apples. Pick an apple that doesn’t turn mushy, but holds its shape when cooked; Cortland, Jonagold, Northern Spy, Winesap, and Golden Delicious all fit the bill nicely.
Total Time 4-14 hours
Prep Time 4-12 hours
Difficulty Level Advanced
4 large duck leg/thighs (about 12 oz each)
4 tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 c sliced onion
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 c each chopped carrot and celery
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 large bay leaves
4 crushed juniper berries
2 c hearty red wine
4 c rich duck or chicken stock
1 c pitted prunes, sliced in half
2 peeled and sliced green apples
3 tbsp butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim excess fat from duck legs. In a saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add onions, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté until lightly browned. Add the peppercorns, bay, juniper berries and wine and simmer for 10 minutes partially covered. Cool completely and then add duck legs and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12.
Remove legs from the marinade and pat dry, reserving the marinade. Sauté duck legs in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil until golden brown on all sides. Place duck in a skillet big enough to snugly fit the legs in one layer.
Heat reserved marinade and stock with vegetables and the prunes to a simmer. Pour over duck and simmer gently covered for 1-1/2 hours or until the duck is tender. Remove duck and keep warm.
Strain the cooking liquid, pressing down on the solids. Remove as much fat as you can. Place in a saucepan and reduce over high heat to a nice sauce consistency. Season to your taste with salt and pepper.
Sauté the apple slices in butter quickly until lightly browned. Place apples on warm plates, top with the duck and ladle the prune sauce over.