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.
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.
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
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.
© 1979 All rights reserved. Published by Macmillan.