Posted by: Rachel | April 3, 2011

but wait, there’s more…

Oh boy, just what I need: another cookbook. I couldn’t pass this one up, though, when I saw it on the shelf at the Goodwill. It looked so forlorn surrounded by miscellaneous how-to and self improvement books with not another cookbook in sight. So, I brought it home.

The cover isn’t much, so don’t judge by it. I’m glad I didn’t. The recipes seem sound, and the photos, well the photos are great. I wish I could just tear the pages out and eat them!

My French Vue: Bistro Cooking at Home by Shannon Bennett is absolutely worth a look.

Now listen, if you know me you know that I have plenty of French cookbooks already. So, why another one? Well, the photos are mouth-watering as I mentioned, but also I like her astuces, tips and tricks and the suggestions about food and wine pairings and the general “how-to” info (“how to peel and dice a tomato” for example). And, this isn’t fussy food. “Bistro” cooking is sort of a step up from “pub grub”, approachable and fairly simple. Mmmm…

So, I had this duck in the freezer… you know where this is going already, right?

roasted duck before carving

life imitates book

And, while I didn’t completely follow her recipe I didn’t meander too far afield.

I used much less alcohol that her recipe suggests, and I used my own spice blend rather than her “eight-spice blend”, but other than those changes I pretty much followed her recipe. Here’s what I did:

Crispy Roast Duck Infused with Orange

carved duck on a platter ready to serve

eat this photo

1 large free-range duck
1 T seven-spice powder
salt and pepper
1 C fresh orange juice
1 C Grand Marnier
1/4 C chicken stock or water

Start this preparation either the morning of the day you plan to serve the duck, or the night before. Put the duck on a rack in a roasting pan that will fit in your fridge. Mix 1/4 C each of Grand Marnier and fresh orange juice. Pour this over the duck and put it in the fridge as is, uncovered, for at least 8 hours (overnight is fine).

Roughly two and a half hours before serving, preheat the oven to 425 F. Prick the duck’s skin all over with either a small metal skewer or a toothpick. Rub the duck with salt, pepper, and seven spice. Mix the rest of the Grand Marnier, orange juice, and chicken stock or water to use for basting.

Roast at 425 for 2 hours. Baste every 15 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and allow the duck to sit for 20 minutes before carving. Serve with pan juices if desired.

Nice and easy, and it was very good. Once I was done carving, I kept the carcass in the fridge, and added the leg and wing bones as I finished with them. Oh, and the neck of course. Once I’d gotten all the meat I thought I could from the duck, well, you know what comes next, don’t you?

And Then Make (Duck) Soup

duck soup getting started

truly lovely bones

1 duck carcass and any miscellaneous duck bones
1 onion halved
1 celery stick rough chopped
1 carrot rough chopped
1 head (not clove, head, really!) of garlic, halved
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
2 quarts or water

Put all ingredients in a deep heavy Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat, strain and store the stock in fridge or freezer.

But wait, there’s more… As I strained the broth I saw that there was really quite a lot of meat left on the bones. There was a good bit of flavor left even after the soup-making process, so I carefully picked all the meat off and stored it. I had fabulous lunches for the next few days, let me tell you!

“Peking” Duck Tortillas

3 T (about) of cooked duck meat, shredded
1 flour tortilla
1/2 of one scallion, cut length-wise, white and 3 inches or so of green leaves
hoisin sauce

Warm one tortilla on the stove or in microwave. Dip the scallion in the hoisin sauce and “paint” a stripe down the inside of the tortilla. Add the duck meat, lay the scallion on top, roll up and enjoy!

OK, that’s really about it. Unless someone can suggest a use for roasted and then boiled duck bones that I can’t think of. I think we’ve more than gotten our money’s worth out of this bird. As they say in France, “all of the duck but the quack”… and I enjoyed it every step of the way, to. Mmmm!! Thanks for coming along… have a great week and bon appetit!


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