Like most dried wild mushrooms, dried porcini—also called cèpes—deliver a flavor out of all proportion to their dried weight. We tend to associate whole duck with roasting but here, after a preliminary browning, the bird is slowly braised in the oven.
1 duck, about 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
1 ounce dried porcini
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
3 fresh thyme sprigs
4-1/2 cups strongly flavored chicken stock
2 tablespoons Madeira
Creamy mashed potatoes (see the book)
or soft polenta, to serve
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Wipe the bird all over with paper towels, then season, rubbing in the salt and pepper. Put the porcini to soak in 1/2 cup cold water.
In a large ovenproof dutch oven over medium heat, brown the duck all over until golden. The bird will release enough fat so you don't need to add any oil. Remove and reserve the duck while you add the vegetables and herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Put the duck back on top of the vegetables and pour over the stock. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer.
Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid, rinse and reserve. Line a sieve with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and strain the soaking liquid through it into the dutch oven. Add the Madeira. Put on the lid and put into the oven to braise for 2 hours, basting the duck from time to time.
Remove from the oven, transfer the duck to a serving dish and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Strain the braising liquid into a small saucepan and skim off the fat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer while you carve the duck. Pour any juice from the serving dish into the sauce.
Remove the legs and cut through the joint to separate drumsticks and thighs. Carve the breasts in thin slices and arrange on 4 warmed plates. Add the mushrooms to the sauce for a minute to warm them through, then spoon over and round the duck. Serve with the potatoes or polenta.
A New Look At Australian Cooking
By Martin Webb and Richard Whittington
Soma Books, 1997
Color photos throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created October 2000
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