Duck With Forty Cloves of Garlic

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| Servings: 2 portions

Garlic lovers as well as those who are not so sure will be surprised at the mellow sweetness a long, slow baking imparts to these 40 garlic cloves. The duck is perfumed with the heady aroma, and the sauce, finished with sherry vinegar and Cassis, is sweetly tart and nutty. The perfect accompaniments are wild rice, chestnut purée and your best Bordeaux.


  • 1 duck, 4 ½ to 5 pounds, fresh or thoroughly defrosted
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
  • 1½ cups Chicken Stock (see page 342) or canned chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 40 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Crème de Cassis (black currant liqueur)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) sweet butter, chilled
  • chopped parsley (garnish)


  1. Remove neck and giblets from the duck; save the liver for another use. Chop neck, heart and gizzard. Cut off wing tips. Remove all possible fat from the duck’s cavity and prick the skin all over with a fork. Salt the inside and outside of the duck and set it in a shallow baking pan just large enough to hold it comfortably. Set aside.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan, add chopped giblets and wing tips, and brown over high heat. Season with salt and pepper, reduce heat, and add the onions and carrots. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender and lightly colored, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken stock, thyme, parsley and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer while the duck roasts.
  4. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  5. Separate the heads of garlic into cloves, discarding the papery skin from the heads; do not peel the cloves. Select about 6 of the largest cloves and stuff them into the duck. Arrange the rest of the garlic around the duck.
  6. Set the pan on the middle level of the oven. After 15 minutes turn the temperature down to 375°F. and roast the bird for another 35 minutes for medium rare; 5 to 10 minutes more for juicy and still slighty pink. We do not recommend cooking duck “well done.” Transfer duck to a platter, cover with foil, and keep warm.
  7. Strain the broth, discard the solids, and measure the broth. You should have ½ cup. If you have less, don’t worry. If you have more, return it to the saucepan and cook briskly for 5 minutes or so to reduce it.
  8. Lift the garlic cloves from the cooking fat with a slotted spoon and force them through the medium disc of a food mill. Reserve the puréed garlic and discard the skins.
  9. When the broth is properly reduced, add the vinegar and Cassis, bring to a boil, and reduce the mixture by one third. Whisk in the garlic purée and remove the pan from the heat.
  10. Cut the chilled butter into 10 pieces and whisk the butter, piece by piece, into the hot sauce, always adding another piece of butter before the previous one is entirely absorbed. The sauce will begin to look creamy and thicken slightly. Cover the saucepan and set it in a warm (not hot) place.
  11. Carve the duck into 4 serving pieces and divide them between 2 warmed plates. Add the accompaniments you have chosen. Spoon some of the sauce over the duck, and transfer the rest to a sauceboat. Retrieve the garlic doves remaining inside the carcass and use them to garmsh the sauced duck. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.

Source: The Silver Palate Cookbook page 186