Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 6, 2021
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RĂ©union: Curried duck with vanilla

It’s a Réunionnaise tradition to use vanilla as a spice in savoury dishes. The sweet aromas of vanilla should not be misused, however. When combined, in moderation, with chicken, duck or fish, the spice shows that it is capable of more than just contributing to ice cream.

In this curry, the vanilla is allowed to interact and blend with different flavours. The dish can also be made with pork and served with rice.

4 duck thighs

1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved

2 tsp. (10 ml) mild curry powder


2-3 tbsp. (30-45 ml) butter or palm oil

3 onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 c. (250 ml) butternut squash, diced

2-3 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

1 clove

Rub the duck with the vanilla seeds, curry powder and salt to taste. Cut the vanilla bean in smaller pieces.

Heat the butter in a large deep skillet or a wide pot over medium heat. Add the duck and vanilla bean and sauté for 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Add the onions and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 20 minutes, or even longer for falling-apart-tender duck thighs. Serves 4 as a main dish.

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