Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two birds

I have been wanting some duck fat recently to make duck fat caramel soy sauce ice cream, or something like that (maybe miso instead of the soy sauce? maybe duck fat pie crust?). As you know, I have also been obsessing over this goose thing that Carol made on Alinea at Home. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone tonight and make a tribute to the goose thing that Carol made, in the process rendering a quarter cup of duck fat and feeling tremendously productive on a rainy Sunday.

So here we go: a duck leg. I cured the duck legs for a couple hours with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Then I roasted them for an hour, poured off the rendered fat, replaced it with half a bottle of Pinot Noir, tossed in some rosemary and pearl onions, and braised it for half an hour in the oven. While that was cooking I reduced some turkey stock (two birds) on the stove with some shallots and bay leaves until it was the consistency of a glaze. I took the duck out of the oven, strained the braising liquid, and added that to the turkey stock. I cooked that all down until it was a nice saucy consistency. Then when I was ready to serve I broiled the duck legs for two minutes to crisp up the skin, and also heated up the sauce so I could pour it over everything.

Buttermilk celery root puree. I chopped a celery root and a yukon gold potato into bite size pieces. I put them in a pot, covered them with cold milk and buttermilk, put the pot on the stove, brought it to a boil, and cooked until everything was tender (except the pot). I pureed the vegetables and then passed them through a sieve to get out as many lumps as I could. Then I kept the puree in the fridge. When I was ready to serve it, I heated it up and mixed in some melted butter and extra buttermilk using my KitchenAid. Excellent.

The cabbage was easy--I chopped it up, sauteed it in some of the rendered duck fat, added some chili flakes and vinegar, and tossed in some toasted pecans. No sweat.

And the salad, well, it's a salad with supremes of grapefruit, the last pomegranate in Berkeley, cucumber, and a preserved lemon vinaigrette. I wanted to make a mustard vinaigrette so things wouldn't be too fruity, but somehow I'm out of mustard, but still have infinity preserved lemons. Oh well. The salad was really just an excuse for me to practice cutting supremes of citrus fruit. One day I will be the supreme master.

Also I put some kumquat-tangelo marmalade on top, because, well, because it was there.

All in all it turned out pretty tasty. I don't think it was the best meat, or the best potatoes, or the best cabbage, or the best salad I've ever made, but I did feel like I leveled up a bit in roasting and braising, in mashed potatoes and supreme cutting, and in planning a bunch of different elements on one plate and timing them so that they all happen together. And, well, I have a jar of duck fat to show for it, so really--how bad can that be?

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