Garlic Casserole with Duck and Chicken Slivers

Slowly cooked garlic becomes not only sweet and mellow but mild too. This dish combines both slow and quick cooking, as the chicken and duck are only briefly introduced to the garlic mixture. It makes a lovely contrast of tastes and textures. Serve with a crisp green vegetable such as broccoli or sliced sprouts and new or baked potatoes or basmati rice.

Ingredients

  • 2 whole heads garlic
  • 50 g/2 oz soft pitted prunes
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 100 g/4 oz rindless smoked streaky bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 1 level tablespoon plain flour
  • 300 ml/½ pint Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 chicken breast fillet
  • 2 duck breast fillets
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2-3 tablespoons plain yoghurt
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Peel the cloves of garlic but leave whole. Chop up the pitted prunes fairly small. Chop up the tomatoes. Slice the bacon roughly into 2.5cm/1 in pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a cast-iron casserole over a fairly high heat, add the bacon and stir until beginning to brown. Remove from the heat, add the butter and the second tablespoon of olive oil and stir until the butter has melted. Then add the cloves of garlic and stir to coat them with the oil and butter. Stir in the flour, then stir in the Guinness with a wooden spoon, a little at a time at first, until the sauce is smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, followed by the prunes and tomatoes. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Bubble for 2-3 minutes, still stirring, then cover the dish and cook in the centre of the oven for about 1½ hours.

Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken and duck fillets and, using a really sharp knife, slice them across very thinly. Remove the leaves from the tarragon and chop roughly.

When the casserole is ready, remove it from the oven and put it on top of the stove again. When you are ready to eat, bring the mixture to the boil over a fairly high heat, stirring once or twice. Then add the chicken slivers and bubble for about 3 minutes, still stirring. Add the duck slivers and the chopped tarragon and stir for another minute or two. The duck flesh should still be slightly pink. Spoon the yoghurt unevenly on top of the casserole and serve at once.

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