Slow Cooked Duck with Wild Thyme

11:30 am on 17 December 2012

You may use wild duck or farmed and the slow cooking makes it the perfect no-fuss option for Christmas dinner.

(Serves 4-6)


  • 2 whole ducks 
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, medium dice
  • 1 large carrot, medium dice
  • 1 celery stalk (optional) medium dice
  • 1 rasher bacon
  • ½ cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon is good)
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock 
  • 400g can tomatoes
  • 2 T fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt + freshly ground pepper to taste


Trim any excess fat off the duck (wild ones don’t usually have much so don’t worry too much). In a large enough pot for both ducks, brown the ducks on all sides in a little oil. Remove ducks and set aside. Drain off any fat in the pot.

Add 1 T olive oil, the onions, carrots, bacon and celery and sauté until they begin to soften. Add the red wine and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the ducks back into the pot with the tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Add enough of the stock to ensure that the ducks are about 2/3 covered and bring to the boil. Put the lid on and then reduce to a simmer for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Keep an eye on the stock level and if it gets too dry over the cooking time top up with water or more stock. You want it to reduce over the cooking time but still have lots of gravy left at the end. 

Remove the ducks and they ought to fall into pieces. I like to serve this on a big platter with mashed potato (or pumpkin or kumara), the rich gravy (thickened if you prefer) and a fresh salad of orange segments, pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds.

Wine Match

2011 Palliser Estate Pencarrow Pinot Noir
2010 Kennedy Point Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon