Anatra Col Pien

Venetian Stuffed Duck


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Sophisticated and elegant, this dish is one of the tastiest ways to serve duck. It is a very old recipe and one that makes the most of the wide variety of ingredients that have been available to the people of Venice for many centuries. The dish looks as good as it tastes, provided that the duck has been boned properly. If you are not confident about this yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you, or roast the duck whole and cook the stuffing separately (adjust the cooking time accordingly). Serve with Salsa Peverada, if you like.


  • 1 oven-ready duck, about 2 kg/ lb
  • 115 g/4 oz veal escalope/US scallop or chicken breast fillet, minced/ground
  • 115 g/4 oz, plus 1 rasher/strip, streaky/fatty bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 duck liver or 2 chicken livers, trimmed and chopped
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 stale white bread roll, crusts removed, grated
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp Marsala
  • 4 amaretti or 2 macaroons, crumbled
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp candied mustard fruits (mostarda di frutta), chopped
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped
  • 750 ml/ pint/3 cups dry white or red wine
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • Salsa Peverada and cabbage, to serve (optional)


  1. To bone the duck, first cut out the wishbone and the wing tips. Lay the duck breast-side down with the back facing up, then, using a sharp knife, cut along the backbone. Pull the flesh away from the bone as you cut between them on one side of the bird. Don’t cut into the skin.
  2. Cut through the wing and thigh joints and between the breast meat and ribcage. Turn the bird around and repeat on the other side. Cut off the flesh from the breastbone. Cut the tendons at the end of the thigh and wing bones and scrape off the flesh along the bone. Remove the bone. Set the boned duck aside.

  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Mix together the minced veal or chicken, the 115 g/4 oz chopped bacon or pancetta (reserving the extra rasher), the duck or chicken livers, 30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil, parsley and breadcrumbs.

  4. Put the Marsala into a small bowl, add the amaretti or macaroons and stir until mushy. Add to the meat mixture. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and candied mustard fruits, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the egg yolk.
  5. Lay the duck on a board, spoon this stuffing mixture into it and sew it closed with kitchen string or twine.

  6. In a small bowl, blend together the remaining olive oil, a little salt, the chopped rosemary and the chopped bacon rasher.
  7. Put the stuffed duck into an oiled roasting pan and spread the rosemary mixture over it. Baste the duck with 30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp wine and put it in the oven. Roast the duck for 1½ hours, basting it frequently with the wine (it may not be necessary to use all of the wine), until cooked. Test by piercing with a knife -the juices should run clear.

  8. Transfer the duck to a warmed platter and carve. Serve with Salsa Peverada and cabbage, if you like.