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Duck duck duck… goose!

Duck duck duck… goose!

03 Dec 2013 BY Tim Wells

Trawl through the "La Table" section of a handful of French regional travel guides and, with a few exceptions. all the well-known traditional recipes for cooking duck come from deep in Aquitaine. Here our web-footed friend and his cousin the goose really come into their own, in delectable fashion. Confit de canard (“preserve” of duck) was first presented at Henri IV’s table. The duck legs and thighs are salted, then cooked and preserved in goose fat for months before being served, often with roast sarladaise potatoes, or as part of that most typical of southwest regional dishes, cassoulet. The lean duck breast, known as magret de canard, is usually grilled and served pink with crispy skin, and goes well with a garnish of berries and cassis. In Nérac, specialist butchers deal only in duck products, including specialities like dried duck ham, or magret stuffed with that gourmet goose liver dish, foie gras. There have been campaigns and boycotts against the forced feeding of geese to produce foie gras, but producers claim that modern methods are humane. The British market alone is worth millions; ironically in France a large portion of the foie gras consumed is produced in Eastern Europe, notably Bulgaria. It is of course certain that the real connoisseurs can tell the difference.

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