Duck a la Rhubarb and the Roller Coaster of a Garden

It’s a bit of a struggle this year.  Our garden is giving us a run for our money with it being inconsistent in deciding what it wants to grow.  Every year there is usually one or two things that are stubborn.  But with the lack of rain in May and the reappearance of rabbits this year we’re not having much luck with the eggplant, tomatillos, parsnips, onions, leeks, and beets!

I have to say though our potatoes are going gangbusters.  So far they are the best we’ve ever had.  We’re struggling to keep up with adding dirt and straw to the towers as the plants grow.  Fingers crossed we’ll get a harvest bigger than what we put in!

A while back when Johnny had the Feed the Piglet blog he sent me a link for a Rhubarb Duck recipe.  Unfortunately the link is now private, though you can see latest posts on Kitschnflavours site.  So I had to come up with my own recipe.  Gasp!

Rhubarb duck 1 2015

Rhubarb is a perfect pairing with duck with the tartness of the rhubarb and the richness of the duck.  Slice 2-3 stalks of rhubarb.  Finely chop a handful of fresh thyme and half a sweet onion.

Rhubarb duck 2 2015

Score the duck skin and season with sea salt and pepper.  Heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet and place the duck skin down.  You don’t want a high heat for this because you want to render the fat without burning the duck.  Once the duck has rendered turn it over to sear the other side.

Rhubarb duck 3 2015

Because this was a big piece of duck I finished it off in the oven.  While the duck cooks add the rhubarb, onion, and thyme to the skillet.  Saute to soften the rhubarb and onion.  Grate an inch square (2.5 cm sq) of fresh ginger into the skillet.

Rhubarb duck 4 2015As the rhubarb cooks down add a cup of chicken stock and bring to a simmer.  It was interesting because I didn’t add any citrus to this dish but there was a definite citrus taste to it.  Must have come from the rhubarb.

Rhubarb duck 5 2015

Once the duck is cooked to medium let it rest before slicing.  Unfortunately we had a tough piece of bird!  I cooked up some mashed potatoes and pan roasted Brussels Sprouts.  The kids enjoyed this what with their love of duck and rhubarb.  It was mine to screw up!  🙂

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Roasted Duck with a Port Wine Fig Sauce

Usually when we watch cooking competitions I will either get inspiration or be really impressed with what they pulled off.  This weekend we watched an episode of Top Chef from season 10 where they had to cook an omelette as a test.  I was not impressed!  None were fluffy and light, many were browned quite a bit, and to top it off Wolfgang Puck showed them the proper technique and his came out browned and not so fluffy either.

It’s a strange feeling that if I was there, I might have passed the cooking test over the established chefs!  With that in mind I thought it would be a great way to start the day of spoiling my husband for his birthday with delicious food.

Port Fig Sauce and Roasted Duck 1 2014

I started dinner off with charcuterie and cheeses as the first course.  For the main course I wanted to use a recipe I came across on Armchair Sommelier for a Port and Fig Sauce with chicken.  I thought this would work very well with roasted duck.

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C.

In a baking dish place the duck pieces and season with salt and pepper.  I had duck legs and duck wings in the freezer to use up.

Port Fig Sauce with Roasted Duck 2 2014

Bake the duck covered for half an hour.  While this is baking chop up about a cup of dried figs.  In a saucepan bring to a boil the figs, 2/3 cups of tawny port, a cup of water, and 2 tsp of lemon zest.

Port Fig Sauce with Roasted Duck 3 2014

Once it boils lower to a simmer, uncovered.  When the duck is nearly done raise the oven to 400F/205C and uncover the duck.  Remove from the oven when the skin is crispy.

Port Fig Sauce with Roasted Duck 5 2014

Add a couple of tablespoons of duck fat to the sauce, mix well, and simmer for a few more minutes.

Port Fig Sauce with Roasted Duck 4 2014

Because I had to divide the duck with four of us I cut all the meat off of the bones that I could to share among us. Top with the sauce.  I also did roasted parsnips and pan roasted brussel sprouts.

Port Fig Sauce with Roasted Duck 6 2014

We all really enjoyed this meal but I think the next time I make this I will add something to offset the sweetness of the sauce with onions to help balance the sweet along with the richness of the duck.

After this we were too full for dessert so last night we had choux pastry with Bird’s custard, raspberries, my salted spiced rum caramel, and whipped cream.  Yum!

 

 

A Blackberry and A Duck Got Together

Things have been looking up this past week which has been nice.  Still waiting for my husband’s car to be fixed but hopefully that will be within the week.  Our seedlings are growing like crazy and we’re back to looking like we live in a jungle.  It will ease once the weather warms which can happen any time now as I’m tired of wearing snowpants!  It’s a formal protest now as it shouldn’t be this cold this far into March!  I’m wondering when the lamb part will show up.

Despite all the craziness I did want to cook a nice meal and I found a pin on pinterest that was for a blackberry sauce for duck.  Ooh, I thought, this looks wonderful.  Until I clicked on it and all it was about was an article about wine.  Now normally I am more than happy to learn about wine but I was looking for food!  So it was time to get creative and come up with something myself.  Given that I have a food blog I should be able to do that!

Pre-heat the oven to 375F/190C

In a baking dish place the duck legs with the skin scored into the pan.  If you have duck breast or a full duck this will work as well.  Our duck legs were frozen so they are a bit funny shaped at first.  In the dish I drizzled a bit of olive oil and about a 1/4 cup of white balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper and a couple of sprigs of rosemary.  Roast uncovered until cooked about medium.

Blackberry duck 1 2014

While the duck is roasting chop up 1/2-3/4 cup onions and saute in olive oil.  Once they are softened add about a cup of blackberries.  Bring to a simmer with 1/2 cup water and 1/8 cup of white balsamic vinegar.

Blackberry duck 2 2014

As the blackberries soften and cook down add a few teaspoons of freshly grated ginger.  Season with salt and pepper.

Blackberry duck 3 2014

Once the duck is done remove from the oven and let rest.  Add a few tablespoons of the duck fat and juices from the baking dish to the sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes to reduce.  Then spoon over the duck and serve.

Blackberry duck 4 2014

The tartness was a great pairing with the richness of the duck.  I kept the sauce rustic but as the blackberries had dehydrated a bit the seeds were tough.  If you aren’t a fan of the seeds the sauce can be strained.

Duck and Leeks – Sounds Like a Good Pub Name…

I love the old pub names you can find and the history behind them.  And I get a kick out of the signs.  I can picture a pub named the Duck and Leek and there would be some historical story going back to the mists of time.  Unlike my dish.  It came about 2 days ago because I was in the mood for some leeks.  🙂

I’ve mentioned a few times this year that the garden has been a bit wonky.  The growing aspect has been all over the place.  The leeks are no exception.  The previous years they have grown to be about 5 feet long and almost 3″ in diameter.  Loads of meals but this year they are about 2 feet and about an inch in diameter.  And we didn’t do anything different!  Fortunately the flavour is still there.  So I thought they would go well with the duck.

To prep I sliced and cleaned the leeks. Dirt gets in all the crevices of those little buggers!

Duck and leek 1 2013

Next I score the fat on the duck and season with salt and pepper.  In a hot skillet I place the duck fat side down.  Once there is a bit of a sear I turn the heat down to slowly render the fat.

Duck and leek 2 2013

Once it’s rendered enough turn and sear the meat side.  Do this for the short sides as well so you’ll have to hold it with tongs.  Remove to rest and keep it warm while the leeks are being cooked.

Duck and leek 3 2013

Next I drain about half the duck fat otherwise it would be overwhelming.  I add about a tablespoon of butter to melt.

Duck and leek 4 2013

I chopped up about 4 cloves of garlic and sauteed them until they started to turn a little golden.

Duck and leek 5 2013

Toss in the leeks and saute until cooked.

Duck and leek 6 2013

While this cooks I slice the duck.  This particular duck was a bit stubborn as it stayed on the rare side.

Duck and leek 7 2013

Easily fixed as I added the duck to the skillet with 1/2 cup of Pinot Grigio and simmered for a couple of minutes to reduce down and to just finish off the duck.

Duck and leek 8 2013

I cooked up some rice pilaf and served the duck and leek over the rice.

Duck and leek 9 2013

Got a thumbs up from the kids.  And the dogs were thrilled because they got the excess duck fat.  Happy campers all round!

Duck and Andouille Sausage

Our store finally had duck!  The kids had been asking for it for awhile now but I couldn’t find it so they were very excited when I came home with one.  I wanted to do something a bit different than the usual roast duck with roasted potatoes and we had some andouille sausage to use up.  It has some kick to it but our kids seem to do ok with a bit of heat so I figured it would be worth a try.

First I had to butcher the duck.  Since I only needed one breast, everything else gets frozen for later.  Including the bones so I can make stock like this turkey stock.

Duck and Andouille 1 2013

In a small skillet I put a bit of olive oil and got it nice and hot.  I seasoned the duck breast with salt and pepper on both sides then put the breast skin down in the oil.

Duck and Andouille 2 2013

I kept the heat up for a couple of minutes to sear the skin then I turned it down to render the fat.  This takes several minutes depending on how much fat you want to render.  Once it is rendered enough I turned the duck over to sear the meat side for a couple of minutes.

Duck and Andouille 3 2013

I like to make sure all sides are seared before removing.

Duck and Andouille 4 2013

This gets set aside in a warm spot to rest while I make the rest of the dish.  Because there is a lot of fat that gets rendered out I save some fat for later use.  Otherwise this would be a very fatty greasy dish!

Duck and Andouille 5 2013

While the duck was searing I prepped the rest of the ingredients.  I chopped mushrooms, onion, garlic, and the andouille sausage.

Duck and Andouille 6 2013

This all gets tossed into the skillet with the duck fat and sauteed.  Once this heats through I added a cup of turkey stock.  Turns out I was out of duck stock!  As it comes up to a simmer I added some frozen peppers from last year’s garden.  I also chopped a tomato and some cilantro and added those to the dish.  I also added a few splashes of lime juice to brighten the dish and a bit of creole seasoning.

Duck and Andouille 9 2013

While this was simmering I sliced the duck.  As you can see it is still a bit rare which is good because it gets added to the dish and you don’t want the duck overcooked.

Duck and Andouille 10 2013 Duck and Andouille 11 2013

Let it simmer for a few minutes then serve over rice.  I did rice pilaf for this dish.

Duck and Andouille 12 2013

The kids loved it.  Though our son’s face was a picture when the spice hit the back of the throat!  But he said he loved the flavours and how they are layered.  Not bad for an 8 year old.  😉

On a side note.  I’ve noticed that I’ll get a note on my phone of a comment left for me but when I go look for it to reply I can’t find it. If I don’t respond to a comment it is because I can’t see it to say anything.  I hope I can get this sorted because I like the conversations!

Turkey Stock

As it is for most people the holidays are a crazy time for our family.  I made this turkey stock a month ago and am only getting to post about it now!  With the exception of the veg broth I use in a lot of recipes we cook with homemade stock.  It’s less expensive, I know what goes into it, and the sodium level won’t rocket your blood pressure.  Reading labels can be so frustrating at times.  The amount of sodium in the processed foods is scary.  And I love salt!  This recipe works for turkey, chicken, duck, and even goose though I haven’t tried goose yet.  It’s on the list.  😉

You will want a large pot, especially if you are doing this with turkey.  We used our brew pot which holds a few gallons.  It was deep enough if I broke up the turkey a bit.  Cut off most of the meat.  Some meat is ok.

Turkey Stock 1 2013

Add an onion quartered and a large carrot which has been peeled and cut into large chunks.  These were our last carrots from the garden.  I also added a few crushed cloves of garlic.

Turkey Stock 2 2013

We had frozen some celery from our garden.  It worked out quite well for this application.  You want the green leaves of the celery for a tasty stock.  I don’t understand why the stores seem to insist on selling celery with the leaves chopped off.  There is so much flavour in the leaves!  It’s a main reason why we grow our own celery.

Turkey Stock 3 2013

Add sea salt and pepper to taste then fill the pot up with water.

Turkey Stock 4 2013

Bring to a boil then simmer for 2-3 hours.

When this is nearly done prep the jars by sterilizing them for 10 minutes in boiling water.  Then fill the jars with the stock.  I know a lot of people spend time skimming the stock and removing fat but given the amount of fat versus the stock amount this is a relatively low fat stock.  As is works very well for us and our recipes.

Turkey Stock 5 2013

While I am filling the jars I turn the heat on the water I used for the jars all the way down and toss in the rings and lids.  You don’t want to boil the lids.  Once the jars are filled I put the lids and rings on.  I tightened then put them back into the water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling I process for at least five minutes.

Turkey Stock 6 2013

Once that is done I remove and tighten any rings that are loose.  Then I let cool.  I swear to you I took pictures of the final product.  I can not find them anywhere!  I checked my camera and my phone.  Nada.  They will probably show up down the road.  🙂