I decided to get serious with my cookbook challenge and try one of the fancier recipes. After a hard day in front of the computer it was quite therapeutic doing all the slicing, stirring, and sieving required by this recipe. Don’t be misled by the photo — it was really delicious, and it’s only my photography skills that are at fault, not my cooking ability.
The recipe is an interesting fusion of European and Asian ideas. The duck skin and meat are cooked separately, with the skin being diced and fried till crispy, and the breast itself poached in a rich red wine broth flavoured with oranges, onions, and balsamic vinegar. It’s then served on a bed of stir-fried leeks and carrots, with the reduced broth poured over and the diced crispy skin scattered on top.
It was quite fiddly to do, but the sauce was fabulous, with a wonderful depth of flavour, and I liked the contrast with the crunchy veg. The duck was nice and moist because of the poaching and resting. I didn’t get my bits of skin quite crisp enough — next time I’ll fry them more slowly to render more of the fat, before raising the heat to crisp them. I think Chinese noodles would have been nice too, to soak up the sauce.
Not a dish for every day, but great for a special occasion. Bonus — we now have a jar of rendered duck fat for frying potatoes.