Braised duck makes an ideal dinner party dish as it can be made in advance and reheated before serving. Plain boiled rice and buttered Brussels sprouts would make good accompaniments.
Butter for frying
12 small pickling onions, peeled
Few celery stalks, scrubbed and finely chopped
4 duck portions, skinned
300 ml (1/2 pint) red wine (Burgundy-type)
1 bouquet garni
2 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Beurre manie made with 25 g (1 oz) butter mixed with 2 tbsp flour
175 g (6 oz) button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tbsp brandy
1. Melt a knob of butter in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onions and celery and fry gently until golden. Remove from the casserole with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Put the duck portions in the casserole and brown on both sides.
3. Return the onions and celery to the casserole. Pour in the red wine and add the bouquet garni, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bring just to the boil, stirring constantly, then cover and transfer to a moderate oven (180°C/350°F or Gas Mark 4). Cook for 1 hour or until the duck is tender when pierced with a skewer.
5. Return the casserole to the top of the stove and discard the bouquet garni. Add the beurre manie in small pieces, stirring constantly, and simmer until the sauce thickens.
6. Melt a spoon of butter in a small pan and, when foaming, add the mushrooms. Saute for 1 minute over high heat, then pour over the brandy and set alight. When the flames die down, spoon on top of the casserole and serve.
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