Braised Duck with Calvados and Apples

, from Issue #19. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Braised Duck with Calvados and Apples

Serves: 4


2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 duck cut into quarters or 4 duck marylands (leg and thigh)
4 small Braeburn apples, halved through the equator
2 large onions cut into sixths through the root
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
¼ cup calvados or brandy
1½ cups chicken stock

To finish
¼ cup crème fraîche
chopped flat-leaf parsley

Potatoes Anna
750 grams medium sized floury potatoes, eg Agria, peeled
60 grams butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

If using a whole duck, remove the rib cage and breast bone from the duck pieces and trim off the wing tips. Tie each piece with string to form into a neat shape.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a cast-iron casserole dish or ovenproof sauté pan. Add the duck and brown well on both sides then transfer to a plate. Drain off the excess fat. Add the apples, cut side down and cook on both sides until tender and deeply golden. Remove and set aside. If necessary add a little fat back to the pan then add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook for 10 minutes. Pour in the calvados and allow to bubble up, scraping the base of the pan to release any sticky bits. Stir in the stock then add the duck and any juices, back into the pan. Season and bring to the boil. Cover and braise for 1- 1½ hours until very tender.

Stir in the crème fraîche and flat-leaf parsley just before serving.

Potatoes Anna: Slice the potatoes very thinly. A mandolin is perfect for this. Grease the base of a 20 cm ovenproof sauté pan or copper dish with a little butter and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange a layer of potatoes in neat, overlapping circles over the base. This will be the top when turned out. Dot with a little butter and season. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, seasoning and buttering as you layer them up. Cover with a piece of baking paper and a lid and cook slowly on the stove top for 20 minutes. Take care not to let them catch and burn on the bottom. Transfer to the 180°C oven and cook for 30 minutes or until tender. Invert onto a serving platter and cut into wedges to serve.

To serve: Place a wedge of Potatoes Anna on each plate and top with a portion of duck and one or two halves of apple. Spoon over the sauce. 

Menu: Serve with A Bowl of Chocolate Mousse with Cherry Compote to finish.