This is meant to be used with Steamed and Roasted Duck. Start making this sauce before you begin to cook the duck. While the duck is roasting, the sauce has time to build flavor and consistency. Since no one eats the wings on the duck, remove them after cleaning the bird and saute them along with other duck parts to flavor the sauce.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, duck fat or bacon fat
- 1 duck neck, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- Duck gizzards (not the liver)
- 2 duck wings
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 onion, sliced into thick half-rounds
- 1/4 cup Madeira, plus additional as necessary
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups water
- 1 sprig thyme
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Freshly ground black pepper
In a large heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the neck, gizzards and wings and cook, stirring as necessary, until they are well-browned and there are plenty of brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot, celery and onion and cook, stirring as necessary, until the vegetables begin to brown.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, carefully add the Madeira and, using a spoon, stir to scrape up the bits from the skillet and incorporate them into the deglazing liquid, which should turn a rich brown. This should take about 3 minutes. Add the white wine, water, thyme and peppercorns and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half, about 45 minutes.
While the duck rests, remove any remaining fat from the roasting pan and strain any cooking juices into the simmering sauce. If you roasted the duck directly on the bottom of the pan rather than on a rack, place the roasting pan over medium-low heat, add a small amount of additional Madeira and scrape up any bits from the roasting pan, then add that to the sauce. Strain the sauce into a medium bowl, discarding any solids.
In a small bowl, mash the butter and flour into a smooth paste. Pour the hot sauce back into the pan, place over medium heat and whisk in just enough of the butter-flour mixture, adding a little at a time, so that the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Adapted from the recipe championed by Alice Waters in "Chez Panisse Cooking" (Random House, 1994).
Tested by Hal Mehlman.
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