One of our favorite meals is this amazing Duck Stew, it’s a lovely late Summer/Early Autumn dinner when the day starts to get cool. Loba originally created this recipe, and we’ve more recently fine tuned it together.
I like to roast or shallow-fry the turnips and apples separately and add them at the last, so the sweetness they get from the dry heat comes through and they don’t end up overcooked. Fresh turnip or mustard greens are so good with this, but don’t despair if they’re not available, it’ll be excellent either way.
Plan to have leftovers the next day, as it’s even better after it’s been reheated. And try a bite cold too. You can substitute or experiment with using turkey or goose, but you would need to at least double all the ingredients listed below. (Serves 2-4)
1 duck (wild or domestic)
1 tablespoon butter (even better if it’s a nice herbed buttter, like Rosemary or Sage)
6 cups water
1 large onion
1/2 head of garlic
1/2 cup of flour (optional)
2 good-sized turnips
2 good-sized apples, peeled and pared
1 large bunch of turnip or mustard greens 1 teaspoon salt
Large pinch of freshly ground coriander
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1 small handful of fresh, finely chopped rosemary
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Set a pot of water to boil over medium-high heat, then brown the duck on all sides in the butter on a hot skillet. Place the browned duck in the simmering water. Pour a bit of the hot water from the pot into the skillet and scrape the pan with a spatula, getting all the flavorful juices and brown bits from the pan. Pour them into the pot. Lower the heat and set the pot to simmer for an hour or more. At this point I can’t help but taste it, so rich, and so clearly duck!
When the meat is quite tender, take it out of the stock to cool, strip the meat from the bones and drop it back into the pot. Next add the onion, coriander, rosemary and garlic, and let simmer another 1/2 hour or until the onion is soft. While the onion is cooking, chop the turnips and apples into chunks. Sauté them in a bit of butter on the stovetop skillet, until just tender.
The smart thing to do is to put the turnips in first, as they take twice as long…. otherwise your apples will melt into nothing by the time the turnips are done (yes, it has happened to me! ). Once the onions are tender, mix the flour in a bit of cold water and pour the paste into the pot, whisking with the other hand. Next, chop up the greens and the carrots. I like to slice the carrots neatly on the diagonal. Set both aside.
The moment the turnips and apples are ready, put them into the stewpot. You may want to save a handful of the apple slices in order to make a circular fan in the center of each bowl, which is fun if you have the inclination! Set some bowls for serving in the oven to warm, and sauté the last of the garlic that was set aside. Watch it carefully, so that it gets just golden. Then quickly get the warm bowls from the oven, ladle in the stew, and decorate with the turnip greens, carrots, cilantro and lightly toasted garlic.
I like to put the carrots around the edge of the bowl, the greens inside the ring of carrots, and the golden garlic piled in the center. Yes, it is as good to eat as it looks. Maybe even better! Enjoy, and don’t forget to thank the duck….
Note: • If you use a domestic bird, allow for time for the stock to chill so you can skim some of the fat off. Wild ducks are so lean that it’s unnecessary with them. A domestic duck will also give you a larger stew, so you might want to add more vegetables than above in order to balance out the extra meat.