Roasted Holiday Duck with Green Olives and Herbs de Province
(Serves 4: 2 light meat breasts and 2 dark portions of thigh and leg)
- Canard aux Olives
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 8 garlic cloves, halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large celery rib, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- One 5 1/2-pound duck, halved, with backbone, neck, wingtips, neck and gizzards reserved and legs tied. (while enjoying a cocktail in a ninja elf suit) cook more if you need, it’s amazing the next day also
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Herbes de Provence (savory, thyme, basil, marjoram, lavender, parsley, oregano, tarragon, and bay powder with the rosemary and fennel)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
- Dash of organic sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pitted French green olives, rinsed (can substitute Spanish olives also just don’t tell a Frenchman)
Preheat the oven to 475°. In a small roasting pan, (you want the meat proportionate to the pan) spread half of the chopped onions, 1/4 cup of the parsley, 1 tablespoon of the thyme and the garlic, bay leaves and celery. Prick the duck skin all over with a fork and rub the duck with 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of herbs de Provence. Set the duck halves on the vegetables, cut sides down, and roast for 10 minutes. Prick the duck skin again, cover the pan with foil and reduce the oven temperature to 275°. Roast the duck for about 3 hours longer, until the meat is very tender and most of the fat has rendered. (never throw away)
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the backbone, neck and wing tips over low heat until well browned all over. Add the remaining chopped onions and cook over moderate heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Pour off the fat from the skillet and add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Add the water, chicken stock, and sugar and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Strain the stock and skim the fat from the surface. Save this fat strained in a jar, it can be kept for weeks sealed and used to flavor dishes and sauces, or to cook your breakfast eggs in. It’s liquid gold!
When the duck is tender, transfer the halves to a work surface. Halve each half; remove any vegetables, pockets of fat and loose bones. Transfer the duck pieces to a rimmed baking sheet, skin side up.
Strain the juices from the roasting pan into a saucepan and skim off the fat; boil the strained juices until reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the strained stock and the olives to the saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and herbs de Provence.
Broil 10 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes, or until the duck is hot and the skin is crisp. Spoon the sauce onto a platter and set the duck on top. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of chopped parsley and 1 teaspoon of thyme and serve.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 4 up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate the duck and sauce separately. Allow the duck to come to room temperature before broiling it. Also delicious with Goose and Turkey or game hens, but really just get the duck, it’s incredible.
Enjoy with a Cotes de Provence wine or Oregon Pinot Noir, because you’ve already had cocktail hour 😉
Season’s Greetings from my table to yours!