04 April 2018

Canard à la Duchambais

Canard à la Duchambais is a specialty of the Bourbonnais province, a.k.a. le département de l'Allier in central France. After mentioning it a few weeks ago, I never got around to posting about it. I made it when we got back from our quick trip to the Bourbonnais area in March.

Cuisses de canard gras that I had in the freezer

I had never associated duck with the Bourbonnais area, but it turns out to be one of the varieties of poultry that are raised there and elsewhere in the Auvergne, along with chickens and turkeys. Is duck "poultry"? I don't know for sure, but I think it is. If you can't get duck, you can still make this dish, but with chicken or turkey legs and thighs.

Purée the livers (chicken, duck, turkey...) for the Duchambais sauce

The fact is, the sauce Duchambais is a Bourbonnais specialty that can be used to enhance chicken, turkey, rabbit, beef, pork, or veal dishes. It seems to have been invented a couple of centuries ago in the Lapalisse/Vichy area by a cook working for a certain Duchambais family and was based on an Austrian recipe. Its ingredients are wine (especially Saint-Pourçain red wine), onions, vinegar, mustard, brandy, liver, and cream.

Brown the duck legs and thighs in fat in a pan on the stove...

The classic Duchambais dish these days is made with fresh duck legs and thighs, which are browned and then braised in red wine. It's best made with a young, farm-raised duck, which will cook quickly and be very ttender. You can also make Duchambais with a tougher variety of duck, called canard gras (duck raised for its liver, which becomes foie gras), but the cooking time will be longer if you want it to be tender.

...and then braise them in the red wine before adding cream and pureed liver etc.

Here is the recipe I got from Julie Andrieu's Carnets de Julie cooking and food show on French TV (and adapted) for my canard à la Duchambais. Substitute any good red wine for the Saint-Pourçain, Cognac or Armagnac for the marc, butter or oil for the duck fat, and chicken livers for the duck livers.

Canard à la Duchambais
recette du Bourbonnais

4 cuisses de canard coupées en deux
3 c. à soupe de graisse de canard
3 oignons
1 échalote
250 g de foie de canard
375 ml de Saint Pourçain rouge
4 c. à café de moutarde à l’ancienne
10 cl de vinaigre de vin rouge
1 petit verre de marc
1 c. à soupe rase de farine
20 cl de crème fraiche
oignons frais

Faites chauffer la graisse dans une grande cocotte en fonte. Quand elle est
bien chaude, faites dorer les cuisses côté peau. Retournez-les et laissez-les
cuire sur l’autre face. Attention, elles ne doivent pas attacher.

Pendant ce temps, hachez finement les oignons et l’échalote. Videz la
graisse rendue à la cuisson du canard et ajoutez le hachis dans la cocotte.
Laissez fondre 5 minutes, saupoudrez de farine, remuez et arrosez de vin rouge.
Salez et poivrez, couvrez et laissez mijoter 50 minutes sur feu doux.

Pendant ce temps, dans le mixeur, placez les foies, mixez, ajoutez la
moutarde, le marc et le vinaigre. Mixez finement. Réservez au frais.
Ajoutez le mélange dans la cocotte en remuant au fouet. Laissez mijoter
encore 10 minutes à feu doux. Ajoutez ensuite la crème hors du feu,
remuez et servez.

Pour une présentation plus raffinée, mixez la sauce avant de servir (mais
moi j’aime bien les petits morceaux d’oignons). Saupoudrez un peu de
ciboulette et d’oignons blancs ciselés sur les morceaux. Accompagnez de
pommes de terre, de petits pois ou de riz.

Afterwards, I found this recipe on a blog in English about classic French recipes. It has one funny "blooper" in it but that doesn't diminish its quality and accuracy. We had our duck with sautéed potatoes and choux de Bruxelles.


  1. I can sympathise with the English language recipe blogger. I find myself typing 'flow...' a lot in recipes. Hopefully I've always picked it up on a read through.

  2. Ha! Made me look, of course. I was in a hurry and didn't catch it the first time through... but, there it was, the second time :)

    I have a hard time conjuring up the flavor of this sauce, with puréed liver in it. Can't quite imagine it.

    1. Do you ever eat chopped liver (chicken liver) or mousse de foie de volaille? The Duchambais tastes kind of like that. It's good, I think.

  3. At my Japanese restaurant in Arlington, VA, they often put an orchid flower on the food as a decoration. Maybe that's the same idea here in the English recipe for Duchambais? But to fit in a tablespoon, it must be rather small!

    1. Do they also season the food with fleur de sel?

  4. I always enjoy your cooking posts and this is no exception. Of course I had to play "spot the blooper", too.

    1. Merci. Walt and I enjoyed the Duchambais sauce. I have some left over, in the freezer, for another meal. Chicken? Veal? Who knows?


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