Duck and Pea Pithiviers

Cook time 2 hours and 30 minutes
Servings 6


4 duck legs
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup red wine
2 cups good-quality chicken stock
4 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp horseradish cream
2 x 375g packets good quality puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten

Sauteed peas
50g butter
500g frozen baby peas
1 baby cos lettuce, shredded
6 spring onions, sliced
1 tsp sugar

Duck and Pea Pithiviers


Heat a large ovenproof casserole dish over a low heat. Cook duck, skin side down, for 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden and the fat has rendered. Set aside on a plate.

Drain off excess fat from pan, leaving around one tablespoon, and add onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Add wine and stir well. Return duck to the dish with stock, thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon. Season with freshly ground pepper and stir well. Cover with lid and braise for one hour or until meat is falling off the bone, stirring occasionally.

Cool slightly and remove duck from the sauce. Shred meat, discarding skin and bone, and transfer to a bowl. Season to taste and stir through parsley and horseradish cream. Strain the sauce into another pot and discard the solids. Bring to boil and reduce by half or until thick. Add half of this sauce to the duck mixture and reserve the rest for later. This can be a day ahead of time.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2cm thickness. Cut 12 x 12cm rounds from the pastry. Divide the duck between 6 of the rounds, leaving a 2cm border. Brush the edges with egg, top with remaining pastry rounds, and seal edges with a fork.

Brush top with remaining egg wash and score a pinwheel pattern in the top of each with a small sharp knife. Place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Meanwhile, to make pea puree melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the peas, lettuce and onions. Stir until glossy and add sugar and 45mL boiling water. Season and cover with lid. Cook gently for 15 – 20 minutes, until peas are tender and liquid has reduced. Cool slightly and if desired, crush peas lightly with the back of a fork to serve.

Reheat the reserved sauce. Serve the pithiviers with the peas and jus.