Wednesday, October 17, 2007

One duck . . .

Two meals. Pictured above is one of the breasts from the duck that was kind enough to provide its legs for a previous meal. The body will be used for stock, so maybe I should have written three meals. If I had the time, the stock would have been cooked down and used to sauce this meal (Or maybe as the cooking liquid for the legs and beans recipe below.).

Also in the picture are some of the potatoes that made a cameo appearance in the background of a tomato picture a few posts ago, and the greens are arugula (rocket) thinnings. I planted some arugula, lettuce, and green onions in a pot a week or so ago, and figure they'll produce for a little while. The seeds are small, and I wasn't too careful planting, so there's a lot thinning to do, although I'm not sure it's worth bothering this late in the season. It is nice having access to fresh sprouts though, and the slightly bitter arugula worked well with the rich duck.

- Duck breast, fat scored in criss cross pattern (Here I made a rectangle out of the breast, and saved the cut off meat and skin with the carcass in the freezer for stock.)
- Potatoes, peeled cubed (These were russets, grown from some accidentally sprouting organic ones from the grocery store.)
- Arugula thinnings (optional)
- Thyme, still on stems
- Butter
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat a nonstick pan and add butter
- Add cubed potatoes, salt and pepper
- Preheat an uncoated pan
- Place duck breast, skin side down, in hot uncoated pan and leave it there until the skin is crispy
- While duck is cooking (It takes a little bit of time.), be sure to be stirring the potatoes so they cook evenly
- When potatoes are softening, add thyme
- As fat is rendering from the duck, pour it into the pan with the potatoes
- Once the duck skin is crispy, turn the breast over and cook unskinned side
- When the other side of duck is cooking, which should only take a few minutes at the most, pour all remaining fat into pan with potatoes and turn up heat under potatoes, stirring often
- When duck is to your liking (don't be afraid of rare or med-rare--think steak, not poultry) remove it from pan and leave it to rest
- Get potatoes to how you like them, then lay a bed of potatoes on a plate, leaving thyme stems behind
- Place duck, sliced or not, on bed of potatoes and add sprouts if you have them
- Enjoy

If you're not a fan of duck, you should be. The legs can be buttery and tender, especially now that duck confit is available at just about every restaurant. Think best chicken ever. And the breasts taste more like a ribeye steak than just about anything else. So if you like chicken, and/or you like steak, you like duck.

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