Duck Cooked in Wine with Apples and Prunes

Canard en civet au vieux vin et aux fruits

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For



Appears in

Cuisine of the Sun

By Roger Vergé

Published 1979

  • About

Moderately expensive


  • 1 duck of 2–2.5 kg (4½–5½ lb)
  • 1 bottle 750 ml ( pints) strong, very full-bodied Burgundy, Côtes du Rhône or Algerian red wine
  • 1 small stick celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 30 g (1 oz) butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple
  • 10 half walnuts
  • 10 stoned prunes
  • a little muslin bag containing: 10 black peppercorns, 1 clove, 4 juniper berries, a sprig of thyme, a strip of orange peel, 1 bayleaf, 4 sprigs of parsley. Tie the muslin up round the four corners with a piece of cotton without squeezing up the contents too much so that they can swell and give out their flavours.


One day in advance

Singe and clean the duck and cut it up in the following way. Cut off and discard the head and feet. Cut off the wings and neck and put them on one side. Detach the legs and the two breasts and chop the remainder of the carcass into small pieces, together with the neck and wings, using a heavy knife or cleaver. Put everything in a large bowl.

Peel the carrot, garlic and onion and trim the celery, and cut them all into fine slices which are then strewn over the pieces of duck. Bury the little bag of aromatics in the middle and pour over the bottle of wine. Cover the bowl and leave to marinate in a cool place (but not in the refrigerator) for 10–12 hours (but not more than 18 hours). At the same time, put the prunes to soak in warm water for the same period.

Cooking and finishing the dish

Drain the duck and all the vegetables in a colander placed over a large saucepan. Drain the prunes and add them to the strained marinade, together with the nuts and the little bag of aromatics. Simmer gently for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 15 g (½ oz) butter in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole. Dry the legs and breasts of the duck carefully, and season them with salt and pepper all over. When the butter starts to sizzle, put in the pieces of duck, skin-side down. Let them brown gently so that the fat runs out of the duck skin, and then turn the pieces over to allow the flesh side to brown. Remove them to a plate, and put the crushed carcass, neck and wings and the vegetables (1) into the casserole. Let them brown, then drain off the fat from the casserole by tilting it over a basin with the lid just slightly askew. Return the casserole to the heat, sprinkle the contents with 2 tablespoons flour and stir well for 2–3 minutes. Replace the duck breasts and legs on top of the bones and vegetables and pour on the marinade (3) through a fine wire strainer. Keep the prunes and walnut halves on one side and discard the bag of aromatics. If the liquid does not cover the duck completely, add a little warm water. Simmer very gently for 45 minutes, covered, over a very low heat.

At the end of this time, make certain the pieces of duck are cooked by piercing the drumstick with a fork, which should meet with no resistance. Put the pieces of duck on a plate with the prunes and nuts and keep warm. Remove the casserole from the heat, and prop it up on a fork or other small object so that it is at an angle. This is to enable the fat to rise to the top of the sauce, so that after a few minutes it can be easily removed with a spoon.

While the sauce is resting, peel the apple, cut it in half, remove the pips and core and cut into little cubes. Heat 15 g (½ oz) butter in a frying-pan, and when the butter ceases to sizzle put in the apple cubes. Cook until golden, then drain and add to the duck.

Remove the fat from the top of the sauce (5) and return the casserole to the heat, reducing the liquid until there is only a tumbler left. Sieve the sauce through a fine wire strainer into a saucepan. Throw out the bones and vegetables, clean the casserole and place the duck pieces, prunes, nuts and apple cubes in it. Taste the sauce, and season with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Pour it over the duck in the casserole, bring to the boil, simmer for 5–10 minutes and serve just as it is.

Recommended wines

  • solid red wines – Pommard, Côte-Rôtie, Bandol