#This delicious casserole is based on a Catalan dish that uses goose or duck. The sautéed pears are added towards the end of cooking, along with picarda sauce, a pounded pine nut and garlic paste which both flavors and thickens.#
Preheat the oven to 350°F (Gas 41/80°C). Fry the duck portions in the olive oil for about 5 minutes until the skin is golden. Transfer the duck to an ovenproof dish and drain off all but 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the fat left in the pan.
Add the onion to the pan and fry for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick, thyme and stock and bring to the boil. Pour over the duck and bake in the oven for 1 hours and 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, core and halve the pears and fry quickly in the oil until beginning to turn golden on the cut sides. Pound the garlic, pine nuts and saffron in a mortar, with a pestle, to make a thick, smooth paste.
Add the paste to the casserole along with the raisins and pears. Bake for a further 15 minutes until the pears are tender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley or thyme. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, if you like.
#Cook’s Tip: A good stock is essential for this dish. Buy a large duck (plus two extra duck breasts if you want portions to be generous) and joint it yourself, using the giblets and carcass for stock. Alternatively buy duck portions and a carton of chicken stock.#