Domesticated duck is a unique challenge in that half the duck, the breasts, are best cooked to rare over high heat, and the legs and thighs are best when cooked low and slow, as in a confit. It's not what most Americans think of for duck, but braising works for the whole bird.
The recipe I'm going to give you calls for cutting the duck into pieces ("breaking"). You should know that your oval casserole is ideal for cooking whole birds.
Duck with Olives (in the Spanish style)
1 whole duck
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 medium Spanish onions, medium diced for mirepoix
Large cloves from 1 head of garlic, about 1 doz, peeled
1 carrot, medium diced for mirexpoix
1 rib celery, medium diced for mirepoix
1/2 bottle dry, white wine
1 cup dry sherry (Manzanilla or Fino Amontillado)
1 cup green olives
4 tbs orange marmalade
1 cup chicken stock
handful of oil-cured black olives
handful of chopped parsley
1 oz Serrano ham, minced
Start by breaking your duck into 8 serving and 6 flavoring pieces as follows:
1. Disjoint the wings at the first joint where the upper arm attaches to the lower. Leave the lower arm and wing tip as a single piece, and reserve them. Leave the upper arm attached to the breast.
2. Remove both leg and thigh quarters from the body, then disjoint them into separate pieces.
3. Remove the breasts from the body by running a knife carefully between meat and ribs, and cutting around the wishbone, etc. Finally disjoint the upper arm from the carcass so the arm stays with the breast, and the otherwise boneless breast can be taken from the carcass.
4. Cut each breast into two pieces of roughly equal size.
5. Using a very heavy knife (chef de chef) or cleaver, break the carcass into 4 pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Dredge the breast pieces, legs and thighs in flour, heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika.
Put the casserole on a medium-high fire and put about 1/4 of olive oil in it. When the oil shimmers, just before it smokes, add half of the duck pieces and brown them. When they're browned, remove and reserve them. Add the remaining meat pieces and do the same.
Brown the wing tips and carcass pieces. When they are browned and fragrant, add the garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until browned. Reduce the heat slightly, add 3 tbs of flour, stirring, until the "raw" is cooked off -- about 3 minutes. You'll smell the difference as the flour toasts.
Add the sherry, wine, green olives and 2 tbs of orange marmalade. Bring to the boil. Return the meaty duck pieces to the casserole, cover it, and put in the oven for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove from oven and set on the stove. Remove the duck pieces and discard the carcass and wing tips. Reserve the meat pieces on a heated dish, and set aside. Skim off as much fat as possible. Pick out the green olives and set aside.
Turn on the flame under the sauce, and return to the boil. Thin to the desired consistency with the chicken stock. It should nappe a metal spoon. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve or chinese hat, forcing as much garlic and mirepoix through as possible into your sauce pan. Add the reserved 2 tbs of marmalade and whisk it into the sauce. When the marmalade is incorporated, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat. Add the reserved green olives, the black olives, the minced ham, and half the parsley.
Plate the duck and sauce it generously. Garnish the plates with enough of the remaining chopped parsley for a fresh appearance.
A su probecha,
PS I'm working on a cookbook. This recipe, which is my own, may be included. If you reprint it or otherwise share it please include attribution to Boar D. Laze. I don't want to see my stuff under others' names, at least not before finishing the book.
PPS Let me know what you think of the recipe.