Legendary Dishes | Ànec amb Pera (duck with pears)


There is no definitive recipe for this traditional dish of Catalonia, well known to its neighbours who have their own interpretation. Choice of duck and choice of pear distinquish it. The duck of the Penedès is favoured because it has less fat. The blanquilla and conference pears of Lleida are favoured because they are juicy and sweet.

The method is constant with some variations. For a rich sauce broth is preferred to water. It can be coarse or smooth. The pears can be floured and deep-fried or they can be braised in the sauce.

An interesting variation is suggested by Pera de Lleida. Their recipe is for preserved duck with apricots, prunes, raisins and pine nuts to complement their blanquilla pears.

The Andorrans make this dish with winter pears and roast the duck whole.

This recipe has been adapted from Corpus of the Culinary Heritage Catalan | The Essential Cooking Cookbook from the Instituto Català de la Cocina, published in 2016.

  • 1 duck, jointed from the breast, legs, thighs
  • 6 pears, four small firm, two large ripe, quartered, cored (peel if deep-frying)
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled, diced small
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, diced small
  • 400 g onions, diced small
  • 400 ml meat stock
  • 100 ml water (approximate)
  • 60 ml brandy (optional)
  • 30 g flour (optional)
  • 15 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 g + 5 g salt
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 10 rosemary sprigs
  • 15 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Oil for deep frying pears (optional).


  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 carquinyolis (almond biscuits), crushed
  • 16 almonds, toasted

Season the pieces of duck with salt.

Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan, brown the duck, set aside to rest.

Sauté the leeks in the saucepan for five minutes, add the onions and carrots.

When the leeks start to brown add the tomatoes. Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.

Flambé with brandy and reduce. This stage is optional.

Place the herbs and cinnamon stick in the saucepan, arrange the duck pieces on top, add the stock and sufficient water to cover everything.

Cook covered for 80 minutes, longer if necessary until the duck is done.

If the choice is to deep fry the pears, peel and flour them. Add to 190ºC oil, fry until they take on colour, drain on kitchen paper.

When the duck is done arrange the pears in the sauce. Cook gently without cover for 10 minues.

Crush the almonds, biscuits and garlic with a pestle in a mortar if available. Stir into the sauce.

Season and serve.

Indigenous Ingredients