For those who like their duck paired with a little something sweet, Tom Colicchio recommends this from “Think Like a Chef” (Clarkson Potter, $37.50). The combination of duck and apples is turned in different directions in the book: There’s also a roast duck with root vegetables and apples; root vegetable soup with apples and duck ham; duck, root vegetable and apple terrine; and root vegetable and apple ragout with duck crepes.
Heat oil in large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until oil shimmers. Salt and pepper duck legs and wings on both sides, then, working in batches, brown duck, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside. Repeat until all duck has been browned.
Pour off all but enough fat to coat skillet. Add onion, carrots, celery and a little salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften and begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sprigs of thyme and tarragon. Cook until vegetables are almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Arrange duck, skin-side up, over vegetables. Add enough stock to cover vegetables but not duck. Bring stock to simmer.
Add apples and transfer skillet to 350-degree oven. Gently simmer--just an occasional bubble--basting occasionally, until duck is very tender and well browned, about 2 hours.
Remove duck from pan and cover loosely with foil. Strain braising liquid, pressing vegetables and apples with wooden spoon. Discard vegetables and apples and return liquid to skillet. Bring to simmer and skim off fat.
Whisk butter and chopped thyme and tarragon into braising liquid. Return duck to skillet, heat through, then serve.
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