Monday, October 15, 2007

Pressure Cooking

This was good, but since this was the first time I used a pressure cooker I'll spare listing out the recipe like I usually do--it was enough that it turned out pretty well in the end.

The duck was from Plum Creek Poultry, a local farm run by a husband and wife team that produces honey, eggs, humanely raised veal, soap, and, of course, a variety of poultry. They even have Christmas trees. The bad butchering job is mine, not theirs.

In discussing the subject, the wise Mark Bittman once said, "[i]f you can find duck legs in the store, go with those."* I'm not sure if I agree. There are plenty of places to get duck legs around here, from Kaufmann Poultry in the West Side Market (Mentioned in the 8/28/07 Liberty Steak post below) to myriad Asian grocery stores in soon to be booming Chinatown (And if you're not sure about my use of "myriad," and I'm not too confident about it, see here -- that Bryan Garner is pretty smart.). Still, even when the aforementioned stores have fresh legs, they don't compete with the taste of Plum Creek's. Cutting up the duck is really not that difficult, but I think it takes some practice. I was out of practice.

The rest of the dish includes navy beans, water, white wine, tomato paste, shallot, a fresh bay leaf, and salt and pepper. I forgot to add dried cherries, a bunch which I've been itching to put to good use, and didn't get the skin quite right, so it had to go.

The idea was to make a one pot braised duck legs and white beans dish. Very cassoulet inspired, but scaled down for a simple meal that can be put together after work. The legs went in the pressure cooker after they were browned with their skin on. The skin was pretty gummy when they came out--I was a bit too generous with the liquids in the (borrowed) pressure cooker. Next time I'll go a little lighter on the liquid, and, when everything is done and tender, throw the legs under the broiler to crisp the skin back up, hopefully. I'll also remember the dried cherries (Or maybe tarragon?). With presoaked beans, a pressure cooker, and an already dismembered duck, this should take less than an hour from prep to table. Add a baguette and the rest of the wine that was added to the pressure cooker and it's a pretty decent weekday meal.

* THE MINIMALIST; Duck Under Cover, MARK BITTMAN, NY Times, March 31, 2004

1 comment:

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