Tag Archives: duck

Cassoulet + Some Catching Up

Happy New Year! I am kicking off the new year with a catch up post. I’ve continued cooking along with Cook the Book Fridays, but I haven’t managed to keep up with my blogging. I will be covering each item in the order cooked (because the order was strategic!).

Counterfeit Duck Confit

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Counterfeit Duck Confit provides a simplified way of making the classic duck confit at home. It takes some planning head (the duck legs marinate overnight then roast for close to three hours), but the technique is easy.

I don’t think I’ve ever had duck confit, so I’m not sure how it compares to the real deal, but I enjoyed this duck a lot. Part of the leg portion was a touch dry, but the skin was crispy and delicious and most of the meat was moist and tender.

I cooked four duck legs and froze two of them. I also saved the duck fat that remained in the baking dish. Keep reading to see why!

Fennel, Radish, Orange, and Crab Salad

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Fennel, Radish, Orange, and Crab Salad is pretty much what it sounds like. Simple crab salad placed on a bed of sliced fennel and radicchio topped with orange suprêmes and sliced radishes.

We liked this, but I would change a few things: 1) There were too many greens for the amount of crab; I ended up using only half the greens I prepared. 2) We didn’t care for the bitter flavor of the radicchio and felt like we would have enjoyed the salad more with romaine lettuce. 3) Buy a better crab! The crab I bought was only OK, so I can only imagine how delicious the salad would be with perfectly fresh crab.

That said, we enjoyed the all the flavors of the salad (except the bitter radicchio), especially the brightness of the orange.

Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat

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Potatoes Cooked in Duck Fat: another very descriptive recipe title! Remember the duck fat I saved when I made the Counterfeit Duck Confit? I used it to make these potatoes.

What I like about this recipe is that the potatoes are parboiled in water and then fried. This helps ensure they are creamy and cooked through on the inside and not too overdone on the outside.

Yum! These are the best fried potatoes I have ever made. I served them with an egg scramble (using leftover fennel and radicchio from the crab salad) for “Breakfast for Dinner”.

Cassoulet

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Finally, the Cassoulet! Or, the more descriptive White Bean, Sausage, Duck Confit Casserole.

This was an all day project, even with the already-made duck confit legs I pulled out of the freezer. I cut out some of the time by using my Instant Pot to cook the beans and ham hock (I saved about an hour and a half).

This recipe make a lot. I cut the recipe in half and it still served us for two dinners, a lunch, and sadly some that went to the trash.

This is another French classic that I have never eaten before. I don’t know if the ratio is traditional, but I thought there were too many beans to the duck confit and sausages. Next time (if there is a next time) I would cut the beans in half again.

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I wanted to like this more than I did. The beans had a wonderful flavor, but I wanted more of the meat. Also, as my husband said, “It has a delicious background flavor, but it’s all background flavor”. He wanted more punch from the duck confit and sausages, but the flavors blended almost too well with the beans. So, while I had fun making this, and I really did enjoy eating it, I doubt I would make it again. Too much effort for not enough payoff.

Whew! I need a rest after that. Good thing it’s the weekend!

All the recipes mention in this post can be found in David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza (Plus Some Make-Ups)

Happy Friday!  I actually got a French Fridays with Dorie recipe done on time this week!  Plus, I am including two make-up recipes; one that I made this week and one I made a couple of weeks ago.  After this week I only have one “catch-up” left for the year and I plan on hitting that one in the next couple weeks.  Let’s get started!

Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza

Fresh Tuna, Mozzarella, and Basil Pizza

This was an interesting one, but I liked it!  It’s a little appetizer pizza with a puff pastry crust topped with fresh mozzarella, sauteed onions, barely-cooked fresh tuna, basil, tomatoes, olives, radishes, and ginger.

I inadvertently made one change:  I accidentally left off the sauteed onions, even though they were cooked and ready to go!  I also skipped the ginger because it just didn’t seem like it would go with the rest of the flavors.

My husband won’t eat raw fish, so I cooked his for an extra few minutes.  He liked the result, while I was happy with the mostly-raw tuna.

I am not sure I will make this again, but we liked the flavors and the idea of making little pizzas on puff pastry.  We liked the Tomato-Cheese Tartlets better, so we will probably stick with those in the future.

Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches

Duck Breasts with Fresh Peaches

I actually had all the ingredients to make this one on time, but then my oven died so I had to postpone making it until it was back in working order.

This simple preparation of quickly cooked duck breasts in a sweet-savory sauce turns duck into a weeknight dish.  I love the meaty flavor of the duck paired with the sweet peach and sauce.

I only had one problem with this dish.  My duck breasts were much smaller than the ones Dorie recommends, so I overcooked mine a bit.

Floating Islands

Floating Islands

I was really looking forward to making this one!  Floating Islands are a quintessential French dessert.  The “islands” are meringue floating in a sea of Crème Anglaise.

It was fun learning a new technique for baking meringue.  I am used to individual meringues baked on a baking sheet.  This was baked in springform pan in a water bath.  The result is a soft, moist meringue rather than the drier ones I am used to.

The Crème Anglaise was heavenly!  And I loved the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the meringue.  I topped mine off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and it was delicious!

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Honey-Glazed Duck Breasts

This week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe represents a first for me:  cooking with duck.  In fact, I suspect it is a first for many of my fellow Doristas.

It’s funny how the mind can play tricks on you.  When I read the label on the duck breasts I purchased, I thought it said, “Peking Duck Breasts”.  It seemed a little strange that someone would assume I’d be making Peking Duck.  Then I read Dorie’s “basics” on duck and found that “Pekin” ducks are a common type of duck available in the U.S.  I checked my label again and sure enough it said, “Pekin Duck Breasts”.  I learned something new!

Back to the cooking of the duck.  Twenty-Minute Honey-Glazed Duck Breasts is an excellent introduction to cooking with duck.  Breasts are a lot less scary than a whole duck, and the recipe takes you through all the necessary steps for successfully cooking with duck:  scoring the skin and fat, letting the duck “rest” in the oven for a few minutes, and mentioning that duck is best when it is still a bit rare.  Also, duck breasts are best served sliced on the diagonal; it helps tenderize them.

Cooking went smoothly for me.  Although I do feel the timing in the recipe is more appropriate for larger duck breasts.  I had small duck breasts and found the cooking times to be a little long.  In fact, I overcooked them slightly.

I enjoyed cooking and eating the duck.  The balsamic-honey-lime sauce was really nice with the meatiness of the duck.  I served these on a bed of mixed greens with roasted potatoes on the side.  I was surprised that the duck was more like meat than chicken.  I doubt I will cook with duck very often, but this was a fun recipe to try!

See how the other FFwD participants fared cooking duck here:  Honey-Glazed Duck Breasts.

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