viernes, 22 de junio de 2012

Cuisses de Canard Braisées avec Vin Blanc et Magrets á la Sel de Mer

Fuuuuck... I warned you that a new age of douchebaggery was coming. It took me too damn fucking long, but here it is. I've been collecting several recipes over the past few weeks, but haven't actually had the time to sit my ass down to type. This duck, however, was prioritary. You see, before this dish, more than 2 years had passed since the last time I cooked duck. Sucks dick, I know, but duck is amazingly hard to find around here.

So I got my filthy paws on a frozen canadian bird. Purists will want to kill me, and with good reason, but the times were desperate. My duck jones had to be satisfied. Also, paying a shitload of money for a lousy bird commands a very pretentious and pedantic dish. Something long, complicated and douche-y sounding. Something French.

This is not exactly a traditional french recipe, but rather a sort of scrapbook of my memories there.

And my memories are kind of hazy about that whole period
Start with a whole 6-lb duck and break it down to pieces. Get your poultry shears and trim the excess skin and fat from around the neck and tail. Starting from the ass, cut your way up to the neck along the outer edge of the breast, then pull away and separate.

Take a very sharp knife and run it down the breastbone, separating the meat from the ribs and leaving as little as possible behind. These are your magrets. Score the skin superficially at 2 cm intervals, salt liberally, wrap in plastic at place in the fridge.

Now cut down the skin in front of the hind quarters all the way o the joint. Dislocate it pulling outward and cut the meat behind. Trim some of the skin and fat from the edges and refrigerate.

Place the carcass in a pot with 1 gallon of water and some aromatics. In this case: 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 ribs celery, a handfull of black pepper and a bouquet garni of thyme, rosemary and parsley. Boil for 2 hours, strain and discard everything but the duck carcass. Pull and shred the meat from the carcass and reserve for another use (in this case, duck confit for a salad a few days later... more on that eventually). Reserve the remaining broth for another time.

Take 4 cups of the duck broth, cool it down and skim the fat from the surface. Don't be a moron, reserve the fat. It's fucking awesome.

Now let's braise the legs.


Braising is the cooking technique where a protein is cooked using both moist and dry heat to obtain a different flavor. It's mostly reserved for tougher pieces of meat, but it can be used on pretty much anything you want. The rationale behind it is that dry heat at the begining of the cooking process will trigger a Maillard reaction (more on that next week) on the surface and create flavor, while the moist heat will dissolve the collagen in the meat and soften it. This particular kind of braising, where dry heat is applied twice to the protein, is exactly how we cook carnitas (pulled pork) here in Mexico, so feel free to try this with pork.

Start by browning them evenly with a little olive oil, just 5 minutes per side. Now add some chopped onions and thick-sliced potatoes. Add the 4 cups of duck broth and a little over 2 cups of white wine, in this case, a cheap-ass pinot grigio. Place the duck legs on the vegetables and make sure they're covered by the liquid, cover and leave be over a medium-low flame for 2 1/2 hours, until most of the liquid evaporates and the vegetables are sautéed in the rendered duck fat.

Yes, the bottom burned a little, so I discarded those potatoes. But the rest was amazing
Ten minutes before you turn off the duck legs, cook the Magrets. Place them skin-side-down on a cold skillet and turn on the flame on medium high. Forget about them for about 10-15 minutes, they'll cook in their own fat (which, of course, you will reserve afterwards) and the skin will brown beautifully. Turn them over and cook for another 2 minutes. They should still be a little red inside.

To serve, place some of the potatoes and onions on a plate, arange a duck leg on top of them and spoon whatever liquid was left in the pan on top. If you didn't get any, deglace the pan with some more wine, add a little butter dipped in flour and whisk until a sauce forms. Slice the magret crosswise and fan out in front of the legs.

Get ready to have your mind (and body) blown the fuck away.

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Duck Legs Braised in White Wine and Rare Duck Magrets with Sea Salt

1 6lb duck, broken down.
2 large onions
2 large celery ribs
2 large carrots
2 sprigs each of thyme, rosemary and parsley
salt and pepper

Or you can take the pussy way out and get:
2 duck magrets
2 duck hind quarters
4 cups chicken stock

1 bottle dry white wine
1 lb small new potatoes

  1. Break down your duck and make a stock out of the carcass and the aromatics. Boil for about 2 1/2 hours, then strain and discard all solids but the meat. Pick the meat from the bones and reserve for another use. Cool the broth and skim away the fat and reserve as well.
  2. Salt the magret liberally with sea salt and wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside.
  3. Brown the duck legs in a little olive oil until the skin is pale golden (about 5 minutes on each side), then add sime sliced onions, potatoes, 4 cups of stock and 2 to 3 cups of dry white wine. Braise over a medium low flame for about 2 hours, until most of the liquid evaporates.
  4. Set the magrets skin side down on a cold skillet, turn on the heat to medium high and leave them the fuck alone for 8 to 10 minutes, then flip (ONLY FUCKING ONCE!) and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The meat must be medium done.
  5. Deglaze the pan where you cooked the legs with some wine, scraping all the browned bits off, then add some butter dipped in flour and whisk until a sauce forms
  6. Plate the legs over a mound of potatoes and spoon the sauce on top. Slice the magrets think and fan out the slices around.
  7. Get laid like a rockstar

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