Canelons D’ànec

Cannelloni Filled with Duck

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • 4

    Medias Raciones

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

SO WHY ON EARTH IS THERE AN ITALIAN DISH IN A BOOK ON SPANISH FOOD? IT HAS BEEN EXPLAINED TO ME THAT ON CHRISTMAS DAY, IN PARTS OF CATALONIA, IT IS TRADITIONAL TO COOK A CAPON — AN EMASCULATED ROOSTER, KNOWN LOCALLY AS A COCK WITHOUT A CROW’. WITH THE CAPON THE CATALANS MAKE A SOUP CALLED SOPA DE GALETS. GALETS ARE A LARGE PASTA SHELL ALMOST THE SIZE OF THE PALM OF A CHILD’S HAND, WHICH ARE SERVED WITH MEATBALLS COOKED IN THE SOUP. ON THE FOLLOWING DAY THE LEFT-OVER MEAT IS SHREDDED AND MIXED WITH A SOFRITO OF ONIONS, GARLIC AND RED CAPSICUM (PEPPER) UNTIL SMOOTH, THEN STUFFED INTO CANNELLONI. AS FOOD KNOWS NO BORDERS, AND BARCELONA IS ONE OF THE BUSIEST PORTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN, IT IS ONLY NATURAL THAT CATALANS PICKED UP ONE OF ITALY’S GREAT DISHES AND MADE IT THEIR OWN.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground juniper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) duck or capon
  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) fine semolina
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Béchamel Sauce

  • 80 g ( oz) butter
  • 80 g ( oz/ cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1.2 litres (42 fl oz) milk
  • 1 brown onion, studded with 3 bay leaves and 6 cloves

Ragù

  • 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 200 g (7 oz) chicken livers, cleaned
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) red wine
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 125 g ( oz/ cups) fresh breadcrumbs
  • a handful of parsley, finely chopped

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Sprinkle half the sea salt and half the ground juniper and coriander inside the duck cavity, then rub the breast with the remaining salt and spices. Place the duck in a large roasting tin, breast side up, and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the duck is golden and cooked through. To test if the duck is cooked, pierce through the lower part of the thigh with a skewer — it is cooked if the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and leave until cool.

Meanwhile, make the pasta. Put the flour, semolina, eggs and sea salt in a food processor on slow for 3 minutes, or until the dough comes together. Shape into a ball, then divide into three portions. Cover with plastic wrap and stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes — do not refrigerate.

To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir for 2–3 minutes, or until the mixture is sandy coloured. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stirring continuously, gradually add the milk. Stir until smooth and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Add the studded onion and cook, stirring regularly, for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the studded onion, season to taste and leave to cool.

To make the ragù, heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic, thyme and chicken livers and cook, stirring regularly, for another 10–15 minutes, or until the onion is well coloured. Increase the heat to high and stir in the wine using a wooden spoon, scraping up any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to the boil, then add 400 ml (14 fl oz) cold water and the sea salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove the meat from the duck, leaving the skin attached. Roughly chop the meat, then add to the ragù with the breadcrumbs and parsley. Stir for 2–3 minutes, then remove from the heat and blend using a food processor until a very coarse purée forms. Cover and set aside.

Using a pasta machine, roll out each portion of dough into thin sheets, starting at the highest setting on the machine, until you reach setting number 3 or until the sheets are about 1 mm thick. Cut each pasta sheet into four 20 cm (8 inch) lengths. (The remaining pasta can be frozen for up to 1 month.) Cook the pasta sheets in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then carefully remove and place in a single layer over clean tea towels (dish towels). Pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Using a piping bag fitted with a 2 cm (¾ inch) nozzle, pipe one-quarter of the ragù lengthways along one edge of each pasta sheet. Fold the pasta over to form a long roll, then cut each roll into three pieces. Spread one-third of the béchamel sauce over the base of a 25 cm (10 inch) square baking dish. Lay the cannelloni pieces over the béchamel, seam side down, then cover with the remaining béchamel. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.

PASTA