Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review
  Re: (...)
We had these little goodies a week ago and you have no idea how many holes I have in my tongue!! I so wanted to shout - pay the money for this very special dinner menu!!! Below says it all, I posted my blog a few days ago so I wouldn't forget any nuance of the dinner and what led up to it...AND I did warn foks not to read this blog....but you know Denise and a few others!!

So, now that I'm back in computer land, I get to post the first review!!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006
Duck, Beautiful Duck!

(must warn those from C@H to please not read the following, if you have meandered over here before the 18th of December)

My Duck tale begins with daughter Tracie and her friend Susan wanting to join us in the "Dinner Party" menu - we'd all decided to do a duck dinner and since her Dad & I were visiting and exchanging early Christmas presents, she decided Mom should help her get the duck. Because we didn't find the required duck breasts, we bot a whole duck and I cut the breasts off, wrapped and froze them for her dinner party. And for my 'hard' work, Trace sent the rest of the duck home with me - not a bad trade on my part.

Fast forward to getting home. I cooked the rest of the duck in a beer braise, removed the meat (yummy tasting, by the way) and started searching for what to do with the hind-quarters of duck meat. I settled on a Bon Appetit recipe - Duck Salad with Cheese Toasts and Port Currant Sauce.

I had enuf of the duck meat for two nice pkgs. so for this salad I only needed one of the pkgs. The salad is tossed with a very simple Walnut oil and Champagne vinaigrette (kept the salad simple, just gorgeous greens and a few green onions) and place on plate. For the cheese toasts - the recipe called for "Pont l'Eveque Cheese and a qood-quality fruit-and-nut bread (such as walnut-raisin), toasted." I had neither, but did have some Brie and dragged the bread machine out and made dough in it for Fruited Snack Bread -

Fruited Snack Bread
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup snipped apricots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Fleischmann's® Rapid Rise Yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
Confectioners' sugar

In large bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups flour, raisins, apricots, nuts, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (125º to 130ºF); stir into dry ingredients. Mix in enough reserved flour to make stiff dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and
elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Roll dough to 10- × 15-inch rectangle or to 12-inch circle. Place on greased baking sheet or pizza pan. Bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and cook on wire rack. Makes 1 (10- × 15-inch) focaccia. Top with sifted confectioners' sugar. Cut into strips, squares or wedges. Top with whipped cream cheese or creamy peanut butter, if desired.
Didn't do all of the above - just dumped all the ingredients (3 cups flour) in the machine, made dough, removed and made into just a loaf style bread and baked that up - no powdered sugar or other goodies.

So, for the salad, I toasted two slices, cut them diagonally and while still hot, layed thin strips of Brie on the toast and added them to the salad.
Topped this with pieces of duck meat and sprinkled toasted walnuts over.
Somehow the day got away from me and I didn't get the Port-Currant Sauce made, but I did have some Apple Cider Reduction handy so drizzled that over the salad.

Anyone out there who wants an absolute treat - I hope everyone will try this salad. The 'cheese toast' (such a bland name for such a wonderful garnish) - is absolutely fantastic. And like the chicken roulades with tomato concasse of a few months ago - you need to get a little of everything in the salad to experience the wonderfulness of it!! It is truly orgasmic!

Now, I must keep in mind that this dish was supposed to be kind of a 'throw away' dish to use the unexpected duck I inherited! The real Duck Story here is supposed to be "Pan-Seared Duck Breast & Risotto with Wild Rice, Sweet Potatoes and Sage AND Pear-Ginger Chutney" to be reviewed on Dec. 18th!

I called the only store in 20 miles that I thot I had a chance in hell of finding duck breasts and they did come thru. The butcher said he had three pkgs. in the freezer and I asked him to keep them for me - he didn't know what he had, because he kept saying they were pkgs. of one duck breast - which I assumed meant the entire breast, but he talked like the pkgs. held one half-breast. Got to the store and he has found another pkg., so I grabbed all four pkgs. (~ $13.00 per pkg.) - and because I don't know when I'll be able to get more, blew the week's grocery money and was grinning ear to ear while doing it.

Thawed out one pkg. and lo and behold, it contained 4 (FOUR) half-breasts, each a gorgeous size, about what I had removed from Tracie's duck and had spent ~$14.00 for (well she did). And to think I have three more pkgs. in the freezer!!

The Pear-Ginger Chutney is a wonderful, spicy chutney. I had dried Cranberries so subbed them for the cherries. A great sweet, savory, spicy flavor.

I've never combined wild rice with risotto, much less added sweet potato to the mix, but it is really a nice combination.

AND THE DUCK! I cooked it exactly to the recipe (used a timer and a splatter screen even!!) It was cooked to perfection - just pink in the center and the greatest (I'm so tired of 'wonderful') crispy, tasty skin. I think the pan made all the difference - used a very heavy SST skillet and NO non-stick finish, so I could sear this over the required high heat.

And after the dish is put together, it looks like it could have come out of Bouchon's kitchen (and that's saying something). Then only thing I will do differently next time is fry up some sage leaves for garnish - it needed a little more color. Served dinner with an Abacela winery '03 Estate Tempranillo ( a new wine we have just discovered and absolutely love!) Great match!

Again, this is so repetitive, but try to get all the flavors at once...died and gone to heaven! Crispy duck, spicy chutney and the oh so smooth risotto.

This dish gets the second 10 I have every given for our dinners!

P.S. had two halves of the breasts left over (that just sounds wrong!) - so repeated the above salad the next nite!!
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by cjs (We had these little ...)
Oh we did LOVE the duck too!! James cut it all up beautifully, I told him he was "fabricating the meat", he was even more happy with himself then. He did a great job. That pear/ginger chutney was just perfect, and cj, I wound up using cranberries instead too. We loved it, wouldn't want it any other way now. What a perfect match with that lovely seared duck breast. This was my very first duck, the flavor was so deep and rich YUM. The rissotto was excellent too, we really enjoyed this dinner. Got about a cup or a bit less of duck fat saved to the freezer and made a broth of the backbone etc. which I used in the Thai duck soup the next day. This was all a great learning experience for me and James and sooo good. One last thing we started with a spinach salad I tried to copy from a restaurant we went to in Ottawa. Washed baby spinach leaves, sliced strawberries, tablespoon or so of Feta, and chopped walnuts. The dressing was a sweetened grapefruit vinigarette (sp?). It really went well too. So all that said and done we'd give this 9.5 YUMS cuz we haven't had a favorite yet that would be a 10 that we could compare to. Most everything is always very, very good, but we keep wondering if the perfect 10 is out there yet.
Btw, guilt tripped myself out of birthday dessert, a friend is making some later this week and I know I shouldn't cheat twice
Empress for Life
  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by farnfam (Oh we did LOVE the d...)
I'm sorry Jean I couldn't resist! But when I know you have something posted it usually means a great story, a wonderful recipe or sound advice.

Even reading this thru the second time makes me hungry!
  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by farnfam (Oh we did LOVE the d...)
Sis and Jean, I have to wait till New Years to try this, or maybe Christmas vacation-I couldn't find duck breasts anywhere and when I finally did, they were almost $30 for 2 halves. I know I could get a whole duck, but just don't have time to deal right now. What a deal for you, Jean!!

It's like finding {duck meat} on the floor! (So to speak)

Your reviews sound so good. Jean, I peeked too last week, couldn't help myself.

Maybe a "Boxing Day" dinner??? Should have more time to play then, I hope.

Thanks for the reviews.

  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by DFen911 (I'm sorry Jean I cou...)
I'll be back with my review----didn't get to it today (or last week---too many things happening and guests dropping in) I do have the ingredients I need (whole duck--but no problem) and now I know it will be great!!! Tomorrow!!!
"Never eat more than you can lift" Miss Piggy
  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by Roxanne 21 (I'll be back with my...)
Cis, that Spinach salad sounds like it would really be good with the dinner - what all did you use in your grapefruit vin?

Happy Birthday Dinner, Cis!!! 5 more days and you'll be a Chrismas baby again, huh??
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by cjs (Cis, that Spinach sa...)
Oh thanks cj, it was a very refreshing addition. The grapefruit vin had @ 1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice of course,tablespoon or so of sugar, rice wine vinegear, EVO, salt to taste. That was pretty much it. Nice contrast with the sweet strawberries (I had frozen ones).
Empress for Life
  Re: Re: Duck, Beautiful Duck! Dinner Review by farnfam (Oh thanks cj, it was...)
Well, this sure was an interesting experience. Never having cooked duck before, I was overly concerned with it being too rare and of course, wanted that great crispy skin on the outside. So, I would have to say that I probably overcooked mine by a few minutes because it was only slightly pink in the center and a little dry for my taste. But aside from that, it turned out well and made a nice presentation on the platter.

The chutney really made this dish, it was great! We were thinking that it would also be very good with pork. The risotto was tastier than I thought it was going to be and definately a good match with the duck. Nice earthy taste. My husband and dad both enjoyed the meal as well. I feel so fortunate to have two diners willing to try new dishes with me. (When we were first married, my husband wouldn't even try shrimp or Chinese food, so he's come a long way!)

This was a very fun evening for us and I'm looking forward to doing this again next month.


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."

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