Duck Dinner, Revisited

7 11 2008

Now that the weather has turned decisively cold, I find myself craving duck again.  Since I was so pleased with the results of my Winter Duck Dinner, and because Nick was so excited to see Brussels sprouts reappear at the market, I thought I’d do a rehash for Autumn.

Yet another photo of caramelized onions

On the same market trip, I found a guy selling baskets of red onions for a euro a pop.  For some reason, red onions are normally about three times the price of their less-stunningly colored relatives, so I jumped on the deal.  Once the onions have been caramelized, I’m not sure if there’s that much of a flavor difference between varieties, but Iove the color of deeply caramelized red onions.

Come here, you tasty little cabbages!

As before, the Brussels sprouts were seared over high heat in duck fat and combined with caramelized onions.  I added the last of the fresh sage, mainly just to use it up, but it turned out to complement the sprouts beautifully.  I’ve decided this recipe is too good to keep to myself, so look for it after the photo.

Rounded out with an apricot-based pan sauce and a pile of roasted potatoes and carrots, the Fall take on the Duck Dinner was every bit as fulfilling as the Winter version.

Fall Duck Dinner - photo by Nick

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions


Even if you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try.  Allowing them to brown a bit deepens their flavor, which is enhanced by sweet-and-savory caramelized onions.  Sage brings autumnal warmth to the dish and embellishes the earthiness of the sprouts, but the dish is equally good without it.  You could serve this with duck or game, and it may even be a surprise hit on the holiday dinner table.


2 Tbsp. butter

3 small red onions, thinly sliced (White or yellow onions will also work.)

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp. sherry vinegar

2 Tbsp. duck fat (Bacon fat would be good, too.  Olive oil is acceptable in a pinch.)

500 g/1 lb. Brussels sprouts

2 Tbsp. fresh sage, thinly sliced (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deeply caramelized, about an hour or so.  Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar and scrape the onions out into a bowl.  Set aside.  (This can be done ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.)
  2. While the onions are cooking, trim the root ends from the Brussels sprouts and chop them (the sprouts, not the ends) into small pieces.
  3. Wipe out the pan and add the duck fat.  Heat over high heat and throw in the chopped Brussels sprouts.  Let them sit still a few minutes to brown, then season with salt and pepper and stir.  Allow a few more minutes of browning time, add the caramelized onions and sage (if you’re using it) and toss to combine.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until heated through.  Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

 Serves 4.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.




7 responses

7 11 2008

Hi Camille. I posted the random meme on my blog. Come on over and visit. 🙂

8 11 2008

I’m not really a fan of plain Brussels sprouts, but cooked up like this they look really good! Sprouts are compulsory with Christmas dinner here, this recipe would be perfect with the turkey.

8 11 2008

Sprounts, duck fat and carmelized onions?
Wouldn’t make it to the plate in my house…:)

9 11 2008

Those caramelized red onions are a beautiful sight, I have to say!

9 11 2008

P.S. Oh and I have an award for you over on my blog!

10 11 2008

I love brussel spouts and yours look awesome! Funny, just before I visited your blog, my husband said, “I think we should serve duck on Thanksgiving as well as turkey.” I kind of mmm hmm-ed him because I was on my laptop – and then I came to your blog.

I think this is a sign. Duck, it is, for Thanksgiving!

10 11 2008

Gloria – Just did!

Sam – Absolutely. You’ll never dread the obligatory sprouts again, I hope!

Jody – That “taste, adjust the seaoning” step can go on for several minutes in my kitchen… 😉

Hopie – Thanks, and thanks!

Laurie – The blogoverse is definitely trying to tell you something…

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