Magazine article Sunset

Rustic and Hearty, It's French Duck and Bean Stew

Magazine article Sunset

Rustic and Hearty, It's French Duck and Bean Stew

Article excerpt

Where the green Dordogne River valley snakes through limestone cliffs dotted with ancient chateaux, duck and goose reign supreme. Foie gras is the best known food of this area of southwestern France.

But among the locals, a rustic duck and bean stew is equally celebrated. Simple, rich ingredients make the stew special: roasted, simmered duck; white beans; earthy vegetables; hearty croutons. We enjoyed the stew at La Ferme, a restaurant in Montfort specializing in home-style food of the region. Complete the meal the Dordogne way, with green salad dressed with wine vinegar and walnut oil, and an inky Cabors wine (of Malbec grapes) or a robust Zinfandel. Dordogne Duck, Bean, and Rye Stew

  1 duck, 4 to 5 pounds, thawed if
       frozen
   2 large (1 lb. total) leeks, roots and
       tough leaves trimmed, sliced
   1 cup chopped shallots
3 1/2 quarts water or regular-strength
       chicken broth (or equal parts of
       each)
   1 pound (2 1/2 cups) dry Great
       Northern beans, sorted of debris
       and rinsed
   1 teaspoon pepper
   1/2 to 3/4 pound unsliced coarse, dense
       rye bread (preferably sourdough
       rye), torn into 11/2-inch chunks
   1 pound slender carrots, cut into
       2-inch lengths
   3/4 pound thin-skinned potatoes,
       peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
     Chopped parsley

Pull out duck giblets; reserve liver for other uses. Rinse bird and giblets and pat dry. Pull off and discard lumps of fat. With poultry shears or a sharp knife, quarter the duck. …

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