Posts made in November, 2014

Winner winner duck dinner?

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So Rohan duck breast with blueberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes (with a really nice star anise-infused vegetable stock) and sauteed romano beans; not bad for a Thursday night. I think I cooked the duck just a bit past where it really should have been, but the 2012 Lemelson Pinot Noir made up for the lapse. The process of cooking a duck breast is quite simple – just score the breast in a cross-hatch pattern so the fat will render in the pan and then finish in the oven. The flavor of the Rohan duck is more pronounced – a deeper, slightly gamey and more ducky taste than the standard Pekin bird. Is it worth the extra money? I guess it depends; few people make duck very often so it’s already sort of a special occasion kind of thing and if you use it all – render the fat and make stock – the $4.49/lb price tag doesn’t seem too bad. I’ll wait until I do up the legs and the wings to render a final verdict.

Here’s how the breasts got from saute pan to dinner plate:
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Duck day

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There’s a new breed of duck in the market thanks to the folks at D’Artagnan. Called a Rohan (presumably to bring to mind the French Rouen duck), it is a cross between a Mallard and a Pekin duck. So the other day I biked up to Union Market where Harvey’s Market had them on sale for the not-bargain but not-bad price of $4.49 a pound. I didn’t want to roast the whole thing (there are only two of us) so I set about carving it up.
The first thing I discovered is this duck had what seemed to be an extremely long neck. Here it is protruding from the body like something out of Alien.
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That’s the wishbone you can see beside it. If you want to carve up any bird, it’s a good idea to cut the wishbone out first to make removal of the breasts much easier. See how long the neck is?
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Removal of the legs is pretty straightforward. Similar to a chicken, you just cut through the skin down to the leg joint and then twist the leg to expose the joint and tendon that attaches the thigh to the body. A quick cut through the tendon and a curve around the bone and you’re home free. The wings always give me a bit of trouble as I find it harder to locate the joint so there’s always a bit of slicing and hacking that goes on.
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Once that’s done, you’re left with a very nice looking breast, which I considered roasting but decided against because I wanted to use the carcass to make stock. At $4.49 a pound, I figured I’d take advantage of everything I could. So this next operation is a little like doing an autopsy (or so I imagine). This photo is unfortunately a bit blurry, but basically you cut down along the breast bone and then work your knife along the bone to separate the breast.
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Because you’ve already removed the wishbone, the breast comes right off.
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Once more, along the other side (which I always find to be a bit trickier because you’re doing it wrong way around) and you’re done.
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Those little strips of flesh are the tenderloins from the breast; once you remove the tendons that run down their length, you can saute them up for the chef!

Now while I render the fat and make stock from the carcass, I have to decide whether to cook the breasts or the legs tonight. Guess I’ll have to see what sort of wine is on hand!

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About Me

Born in Baltimore and raised in Cincinnati, I have lived on both coasts and driven back and forth across the country a number of times. I now have the "midlife opportunity" to do so on two wheels.