Braised Duck with Sicilian Olives and Almonds

, from Issue #42. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Braised Duck with Sicilian Olives and Almonds

This recipe differs from the usual method of braising as it doesn’t require the pan to be covered during cooking. You want the finished dish to have a well-flavoured, reduced sauce and crispy skinned duck, which will only happen if cooked uncovered.

Serves: 4


1 tablespoon olive oil
4 duck legs, (thigh and drumstick)
12 whole pickling onions, peeled with root end left intact
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 bay leaves
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup green Sicilian olives or other green olives
3 tablespoons honey
1-2 cups chicken stock
70 grams whole blanched almonds, roasted
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 150˚C.

Cut the duck legs in two pieces through the joint to give you the drumstick and thigh.

Heat the oil in a wide ovenproof casserole or sauté pan, season the duck and brown on both sides.

Transfer to kitchen towels. Pour out most of the fat from the pan leaving 2 teaspoons behind. Add the onions, carrots, bay leaves, garlic, ginger, mustard, rosemary, allspice, olives and honey. Cook for 2 minutes then stir in 1 cup of the stock, scraping the base of the pan to release any sticky bits.

Season and place the duck, skin side up, among the vegetables. If needed, pour in more stock to come half way up the duck but not to cover the skin. Place in the oven and cook, uncovered for 1¼ hours, turning the onions and basting the duck occasionally. Do not turn the duck. The duck should be very tender with crispy skin and the juices reduced by the end of cooking. Place the casserole on a board and tilt gently to one side. Using a spoon, carefully scoop off any fat lying on top of the pan juices. Scatter over the almonds and parsley just before serving. We served the duck with roasted parsnips.