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Braised Duck with Red Curry

2 (5pound) ducks
Salt and freshly ground
Black pepper
1/4 c Rendered duck fat or oil
16 md Shallots, thinly sliced
8 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tb Freshly grated ginger
1/4 c Thai red curry paste
5 c Brown duck stock or chicken stock
1/4 c Fish sauce
14 oz Coconut milk
3 tb Palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 c Fresh lime juice
2 bn Cilantro, chopped, stems trimmed
2 Limes, peeled and diced
1 bn Scallions, white and 1/2 the green part, trimmed, thinly sliced along diagonal


Bone ducks and remove the skin. (You can ask a butcher to do this, reserving the carcass for stock making and skin for rendering.) Cut breasts in half, then into about 3 pieces across the width. Chop legs and thighs into about 4 pieces each. (Remember: You want to start with generous pieces of meat, since they will shrink when cooked. Don't worry about cleaning the tendons, since they will soften with long cooking.) Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper.


Heat rendered fat in a large, heavy bottomed Dutch oven over high heat. Brown duck on all sides, then transfer meat to a platter. Reduce heat to medium low and cook shallots until well browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, increase heat to medium high and cook about a minute, then add curry paste. Cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Return duck meat to pot along with brown duck stock and cook at a slow simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 40 minutes.


With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a platter and reserve in a warm place. Puree sauce in a blender and strain back into pot. Cook over high heat until liquid is reduced by one third. Stir in fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar, and lime juice, and remove from heat. Stir duck back into warm sauce. Ladle stew over Jasmine Rice. Garnish with remaining ingredients and serve immediately.


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