Ànec amb Peres (DUCK WITH PEARS)
There are as many recipes for this Catalan classic as there are chefs who cook it. I particularly
like this version, though—a rather refined one, from the Eldorado Petit restaurants in Barcelona and
Sant Feliu de Guixols (the latter town in the Alt Empordà).
TO SERVE 4–6 (AS MAIN COURSE)
2 4-pound ducks
Salt and pepper
2 onions, 1 whole and 1 chopped
2 carrots, 1 whole and 1 chopped
3 sprigs parsley, 2 whole and 1 minced
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
1 sprig fresh thyme, minced, or ¼ teaspoon dried
4 pears, peeled and cored
12 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vi ranci (see note [>]) or dry sherry
3 tomatoes, seeded and grated (see [>]) or peeled, seeded, and chopped
4 tablespoons flour
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Cut the ducks in half, and set aside the necks, giblets, and wing tips (severed at the first joint).
Prick the skin of the ducks with a fork, season with salt and pepper to taste; then roast for 1 hour,
or until golden-brown, on a rack in a roasting pan.
Meanwhile, brown the necks, giblets, and wing tips lightly in a small amount of oil; then place
them in a stockpot with the whole onion, carrot, and parsley sprigs, the celery, bay leaf, thyme, salt
and pepper to taste, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
Parboil the pears for about 5 minutes; then cool and set aside.
In a cassola or Dutch oven, make a sofregit (see [>]) of the garlic, chopped onion, and minced
parsley in a small amount of oil mixed with some duck fat skimmed from the roasting pan.
When the ducks have cooked, skim excess fat from the roasting pan, deglaze with vi ranci or
sherry, and add the pan juices to the cassola.
Add the tomatoes and chopped carrot, and cook on low heat until the tomatoes have
disintegrated and the mixture has thickened.
Strain the giblet stock, and add it to the cassola, then stir in the flour. Bring the liquid to a boil,
lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.
Cut the pears into quarters or eighths (depending on size) and cut the duck halves in half again,
then add both to the cassola and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.
Correct the seasoning if necessary.
Catalan Cuisine / Colman Andrews