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Catholic Recipe: Brandied Duck


  • 1 5-pound duck cut in serving pieces
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 1 pint claret
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • Details

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 5 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Italy

Also Called: Anitra al Cognac

St. Michael, the "prince of the heavenly hosts," is the patron of the whole Church, of the holy souls in purgatory, of Germany, of Christian soldiers, and of painters and sculptors. Pope Pius XII also made him patron of all persons employed in radio and television work.

St. Michael's Day (Michaelmas) has been a great day of popular celebrations from the end of the first millennium of the Christian era. This is because his feast comes at the end of the third quarter of the year, which was a time of tribal meetings among the Germanic nations. They also celebrated this day as one of their thanksgiving festivals for the harvest.

Since it was the season of duck hunting, people ate duck and drank from the first wine of the new grape harvest. This wine was usually blessed by the priest and bore the name Michaelsminne (St. Michael's love).


Season duck. Marinate 4 hours in onions, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, cognac, claret. Strain marinade.

Brown duck 12 minutes in hot oil, in earthenware casserole. Add strained marinade, mushrooms. Cover. Simmer 1 hour over low heat. Serve with juices.

Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965
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