Tuesday, November 6, 2012

RECIPE - Wild Duck with White Wine (Marreco com Vinho Branco)

Most recipes for duck, whether Brazilian or not, can be made using either domesticated farmyard ducks - the big white ones - or with wild ducks - brightly colored ducks such at mallards or teals. Both types are eaten in Brazil (as detailed in this post on Flavors of Brazil), and many Brazilian recipes suit both types of birds. But the two birds are not identical, and sometimes one or the other is better suited to a particular recipe.

Farmyard ducks (called pato in Portuguese) have milder-tasting meat and are generally much more fatty than their wild cousins (marreco in Portuguese). The wild birds boast of leaner meat, also much stronger in flavor, much gamier. Whether you prefer the milder taste of pato or the stronger taste of marreco is a matter of personal choice, but because the animals have differing levels of fat, recipes must take this difference into account.

This Brazilian recipe is best made with wild duck, or marreco. Since there is relatively little fat in wild duck, you needn't drain away fat or worry that the dish will be overly rich. The dish is high in flavor, but not heavy. When wine is combined with duck, red wine is usually called for in recipes for farmyard duck, as the stronger-flavored wine can stand up to the rich meat. On the other hand, wild duck, being less fatty, combines well with white wines, as in this recipe.

In southern Brazil, where this recipe comes from, the duck is often served with cooked red cabbage and apple sauce. Either mashed potatoes or buttered noodles are also appropriate.
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RECIPE - Wild Duck with White Wine (Marreco com Vinho Branco)
Serves 6

6 whole wild duck legs (thighs and drumsticks)
4 Tbsp butter
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 lb (250 gr) black olives, pitted or unpitted
4 fresh sage leaves
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
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In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and melt the butter together. When hot, add the rosemary and sage leaves, then the duck legs. Cook until the legs are nicely browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat, add a tew tablespoons of water, and cover the pan. Cook over low heat just until the duck is cooked. Test for doneness by piercing a thigh with a sharp paring knife. When the juices run clear the duck is cooked.

Un cover the pan, increase the heat. Bring the dish to a boil and boil until any liquid evaporates. Add the white wine and the olives and continue to cook at high temperature until the wine reduces to a few tablespoons.

Serve immediately, spooning a bit of sauce and some olives over each leg as you plate it.

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