Crispy Stuffed Grilled Duck

Anatra Ripiena ai Ferri

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

This preparation is from Da Nanni, a country restaurant on the way from Verona to Lake Garda. Run by the same family for generations, the restaurant’s signature dish is a stuffed duck that is first boiled, then finished on the grill. The duck loses most of its fat while boiling, so that, once grilled, the meat is very moist with a wonderfully crispy skin. It is one of the most delicious preparations for duck I’ve tasted.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Total time from start to finish: at least 5 hours


  • ½ small yellow onion
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 duck, about 6 to 7 pounds
  • 3 to 4 leaves fresh sage
  • Salt
  • ¼ recipe homemade sausage or 4 ounces plain mild sausage
  • 1 ounce pancetta, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • ¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs


  1. Peel and finely chop the onion. Peel the carrot and celery and cut into ¼-inch dice. Put the onion, carrot, and celery with the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. While the vegetables are browning, remove the liver, heart, and gizzard from the duck’s cavity, rinse them, and pat dry with a paper towel. Chop them with a knife (not in a food processor, which would chop them too fine). Coarsely chop enough of the sage to measure 2 teaspoons. When the vegetables are ready, add the sage and chopped duck organs. Season lightly with salt and cook until they begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to a medium bowl.
  3. Finely chop the pancetta and add it to the bowl along with the sausage, Parmigiano, and bread crumbs. Thoroughly mix everything together with your hands.
  4. Put the duck in a large pot and cover with water. Remove the duck, place the pot over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  5. Rinse the duck inside and out and pat it dry with a paper towel. Put as much of the stuffing into the cavity as will fit comfortably. Use a trussing needle and kitchen string to sew the opening of the cavity closed.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, then gently lower the duck into the water. Cover the pot and return the water to a boil. Lower the heat so that it simmers gently and cook for 1¾ hours. Lift the duck out of the water and let it cool. Refrigerate until it is completely chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
  7. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill and preheat the oven to 325°.
  8. Remove the string from the duck and scoop out the stuffing. Put the stuffing in a baking dish and bake until hot, about 10 minutes. (The stuffing can also be heated in a microwave.)
  9. While the stuffing is heating, cut the duck into pieces and season with salt. Grill about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until nicely browned and crisp. Serve at once, accompanied by the stuffing.


This is an ideal dish for a dinner party because the boiled duck can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. The duck can then be grilled and served in 15 to 20 minutes.