Papie’s Roast Duck with Sage and Onion Stuffing.
My maternal grandfather, whom we called Papie Tynan, was very fond of his food. He reared ducks, geese, chickens and guinea fowl for the table. The ducks and geese had a happy life, puddling about in the pond and pecking at the windfall apples in the orchard, and they tasted exquisite. Every scrap of the ducks and geese was used, including the blood which was made into a soft pudding and eaten on bread. The feathers were kept for pillows, and the down for quilts.
Put the neck, gizzard, heart and feet into a saucepan with the carrot and onion. Add the bouquet garni and celery stalk. Cover with cold water and add peppercorns, but no salt.
Bring slowly to the boil, skim and simmer for 2 to 3 hours. This will make a delicious broth which will be the basis of the gravy. Meanwhile, singe the duck and make the stuffing: melt the butter on a gentle heat, add the onion and sweat for 5 to 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs and sage. Season to taste. Unless you are cooking the duck immediately, allow to get cold.
When the stuffing is quite cold, season the cavity of the duck and stuff. Roast in a moderate oven, 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4, for about 1½ hours. When the duck is cooked, remove to a serving dish and allow to rest while you make the gravy.
Skim the fat from the broth (keep the duck fat for roast or fried potatoes). Strain and add to the juices in the roasting pan, bring to the boil, taste and season if necessary. Strain the gravy into a sauceboat and accompany the duck with Apple Sauce .