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Duck au Vin

  • Preparation : 60 minutes
  • Cooking : 300 minutes
  • Portions : 8
canard au vin


    For the duck
  • 2 whole ducks from Brome Lake Ducks
  • 750 mL (3 cups) dry white wine
  • 1.5 L (6 cups) water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 onions, cut into 8 large pieces
  • 8 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 8 mL (1 ½ tsp) salt
  • 2 x 227 g packages (about 3 cups) mushrooms of your choice, quartered (i.e. brown, shiitake, oyster, etc.)
  • 60 mL (¼ de cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 mL (½ cup) brandy or 100% pure apple juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the gremolata
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 60 mL (¼ cup) fresh tarragon, chopped (approx. 1 full store-bought package)
  • 60 mL (¼ cup) flat leaf parsley, chopped (approx. ½ of a store-bought bunch)
  • Pepper and fleur de sel to taste


    For the duck
  1. Rinse the ducks well then pat dry with paper towel. Cut each duck into 8 pieces (2 wings, 2 thighs and 2 breasts cut in half), then remove the excess skin from each piece. Watch instructions on how to cut up a duck at the bottom of this page (Tips & tricks section).

  2. Put the wings, thighs and breasts into a large container. Pour 500 mL (2 cups) of white wine over the meat to submerge it, then put the container in the fridge while you prepare the stock.

  3. Cut the carcasses into several small pieces (you may find scissors helpful). Remove the backbone if it’s too difficult to cut. Transfer the carcass pieces to a large, thick-bottomed pot.

  4. Cook the pieces over medium-high heat to brown them as much as possible (about 20 minutes), turning them from time to time.

  5. Once the pieces are a deep golden brown, deglaze with 250 mL (1 cup) of white wine, then allow half the liquid to evaporate. Add the water, bay leaves, half of the onions, half of the celery, 4 sprigs of thyme and 8 ml of salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours.

  6. Strain the stock through a sieve and let sit for 15 minutes. With the help of a ladle, remove as best you can the layer of fat that has risen to the top (you will be able to use this fat to make mashed potatoes – a perfect complement to this dish). Keep 500 mL (2 cups) of the stock for this recipe; the rest can be used to make stock for a Vietnamese soup (phô), a braise, Chinese fondue, etc. The fat will congeal nicely and can be kept in the fridge for 7 days.

  7. Preheat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C).

  8. Remove the wings, thighs and breasts from the wine then pat dry with paper towel. Keep the wine. Put the half of the duck pieces, skin side down, into a large, enamelled cast iron pot, and turn the heat to medium.

  9. Cook until the skin of the duck pieces turns a nice golden brown, then turn and brown the other side. Remove the pieces from the pot and season generously with salt and pepper. Set the pieces aside on a plate and repeat the process with the rest of the pieces before removing the pot from the heat. Watch out for splatter!

  10. Return the pot to the heat and add the rest of the celery and onions and the mushrooms. Cook the vegetables over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Add the flour to the vegetables and mix to coat well. Deglaze with the brandy or apple juice and mix well to dilute the flour and prevent lumps from forming.

  11. Add the stock and wine, the duck pieces and remaining thyme. Cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes. Check the seasoning.

  12. For the gremolata
  13. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, lemon zest, tarragon and parsley. Add pepper and fleur de sel.

  14. Put the meat pieces along with their sauce on top of mashed potatoes, then sprinkle each serving with gremolata. Serve the dish with a side of green beans or a green salad.

Recipe created by Julie Zyromski
Photo credit: Patricia Brochu

Tips and tricks

Watch instructions on how to cut up a duck : 

If there are leftovers, remove the skin and bones, shred the meat and put the shredded meat back in the liquid. Cook pappardelle or any other fresh pasta until al dente and add to the piping hot meat dish. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan.

If you don’t have a whole duck available, you can use 4 thighs and 4 breasts and replace the homemade stock with salted chicken stock. If you can find duck stock, so much the better!

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