Braised Duck with Turnips

1 duck, 4-5 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks


Remove excess fat from the duck, cut into serving pieces and pat dry with paper towels.  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prick the skin all over with a fork without going into the meat.

In a Dutch oven, brown the duck pieces on all sides at medium-high heat. No additional fat is needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue to prick the skin while browning, about 15-20 minutes. Do not burn.

Drain the fat and add the herbs to the duck pieces. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and pour off most of the fat. Add the turnips, cover the pot and return to the oven. Stir and baste the turnips every 10 minutes until the duck is done and they are tender, about 30 minutes. When the bird is done the juice will run clear and its internal temp will be about 180°F.

Move duck pieces and turnips to a warmed platter and serve.


--Adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything."