Finally back on the blog. It took me several weeks to move website and blog to a new web hosting company. I could not have done it without the help of WordPress guru: Jeff Houdyschell at www.wordpressmax.com. Meanwhile I have been cooking several fun recipes, I will report about them later but today I will share yesterday ‘s Valentine Day entree that I recommend for any festive occasion:
Braised Duck with Blood Orange Sauce served with Chinese Greens & Crêpes Vanel
For the Duck:
1 d’Artagnan Pekin Duck (at the Park Slope Food Coop 5.29lb $17.46).
2 big onions roughly chopped
4 carrots roughly chopped
1/2 bottle white wine
1 bouquet garni with parsley, a piece of freshginger, and a laurel leave
3 organic blood oranges
6 tablespoons of sugar
1 Tbsp of rice vinegar
(Recipe coming soon. It will be the subject of separate blog)
1 lb – of what I identified as– green stem Pak Choy.
2 cloves of garlic (slivered)
Coat the pan with olive oil under high medium heat. Quicky fry slivered garlic, add the greens & toss them in. Add 1/2 cup of water & cover tightly, lower the heat & cook until just tender.
On top of the stove preheat a roasting pan coated with duck fat or olive oil. When the pan is warm enough golden the duck (previously salted & peppered) on both sides. Remove it from the pan and in that same pan sauté the onions and carrots until translucent. Pour 1/2 bottle of white wine and add the bouquet garni , return the duck on top of the pan.
I have a very small oven, so in my case I cooked the duck for 1 hour at 400º (preheated oven). I really don’t like overcooked duck, this one was thoroughly cooked but on the pink side. It was incredibly moist and juicy.
Meanwhile: I zested 3 oranges, blanched the zests briefly & saved them for later; then I squeezed the juice of 3 blood oranges, reserved it and started working on the gastrique. This is a classic and old cooking technique that gives certain sauce exquisite texture and taste.
In a non reactive sauce pan put 6 tablespoons of sugar and melt over medium heat. Do not add any water, let the sugar dissolve and it will turn rapidly into caramel. Be very careful not to burn it, shake the pan to make sure it will melt evenly. Once the caramel is golden add the orange juice and 1 Tbsp of rice vinegar. The caramel will first harden, bring the pan back on a medium low flame it will melt again, reduce it by 1/2 or until the consistency is satisfactory, that is it coats a wooden spoon. Reserve.
Remove the duck from the pan, strain the juices. Try to take out as much of the fat as possible (one of those separator that pour from the bottom might be helpful) and pour the juices into the gastrique. Salt and pepper to taste, let reduce to the same consistency described above.
Meanwhile carve your duck and arrange the pieces either in a warm plate or platter for family style serving. Finish up your sauce just before serving. Adjust salt & pepper to taste and “monter la sauce au beurre” that is to swirl in, until completely melted, a few small dollops of unsalted butter. That will give your sauce a velvety texture and a rich flavor. The only draw back is that once “monté au beurre” it might be difficult to reheat your sauce without having it separating. At the risk of being immodest I will say it was truly delicious and my date ( this is such a funny word especially after 20 years together!) loved it.