Our Daily Dinner

Our Daily Dinner

December 26, 2010

Perfect Weather for Duck

I thought hard about our Christmas dinnerand considered ham, rabbit and venison and--for one brief moment—goose before I hit on duck. Question was roast duck or duck breast? The fact that I don’t have the proper tool to carve a bird took care of that.

The next question was the wine. We had a bottle of Château de Beaucastel sitting in our closet. (Not the best storage place). The Wine spectator awarded 96 point to the 2005 vintage with the caveat: “Best from 2011 through 2030.” Since 2011 is just around the corner, I decided “now.” I opened the bottle three hours before serving and hoped for the best.


Duck Breast
Red Cabbage
Caramelized Apple
Wine: Château de Beaucastel 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Dessert: Chocolate Yogurt; Chocolate Lebkuchen

Because cooked cabbage improves with age I prepared it a day in advance which was a blessing since it enabled me to concentrate on the duck. Ironically, the recipe calls for duck fat which I only produced once the duck was fully cooked. Luckily I had my tried-and-true goose fat in the refrigerator.

Recipe Red Cabbage

2 tablespoons rendered goose or duck fat
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 small red cabbage, shredded
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
Bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, four cloves, coriander and pepper seeds
tied in cheesecloth)
Salt and pepper
Water as needed
Opt. 1 tablespoon Madeira

Heat the fat in a large skillet, add the onion and cook till soft. Add the cabbage. Cook for about 15 minutes to soften somewhat, then add the apple, salt and pepper and the Bouquet garni. Mix well. Cook, covered, over low flame for about 45 minutes, adding some water if needed. When ready to serve, reheat, adjust seasoning and add the Madeira.

Recipe Duck Breast

1 Duck breast, boneless, cut in half
Salt and Pepper

With a sharp knife, score the skin sides of the breast in a diamond pattern. (This helps to render the duck fat and produces a crisp skin.) Pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Sauté the duck breasts, skin side down, in a Teflon coated pan over medium heat. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until all the fat has been rendered, removing the fat as you go. (Save the fat)
Turn the breasts over and sauté for another 10 to 15 minutes. The duck will be medium rare. The skin side will be fairly crisp. If not, sauté over high heat for another few minutes.
Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Arrange fan-like on individual plates.

P.S. The Château de Beaucastel was a winner. Can’t even imagine how much better it would be 10 or 15 years hence.

1 comment:

Marie Simmons said...

I have enjoyed your blogs each time. Forgive me for not commenting. We were in Eugene OR with our darling family for 12 days. For Christmas Eve I made a stewfood stew. It turned out luscious. I made a vegetable broth with wine, tomato and saffron and then pureed it in the food processor which gave it a nice body. I added chunks of halibut, calamari rings, shrimp, mussels and clams. We ladled it into deep bowls on top of crisp garlic rubbed slices of baguette. For dessert we had "honey cakes" a family holiday tradtition. Made with an egg dough similar to pasta you roll it in the pasta roller (my grandmother rolled it by hand) cut it into 1 inch strips and then wrap and pinch each strip into a "rosette". The rosettes are fried in oil briefly, just until golden. This is a three person job. One to roll the dough, one to make the rosettes and one to fry. (John likes to fry) Then the crisp rosettes are dipped in warm honey.....thus the name. I have a photo on my iphone that I will send to you. On Christmas Day we made homemade cavatelli. A recipe from my mother that simply mixes flour and ricotta into a dough. The dough is shaped into ropes that are fed into a cavatelli "machine" that when cranked spits our cute little ridged gnocchi shapes. My grandmother used a fork to make these. No machine! We made a delicious tomato suace in which we simmered browned baby back spare ribs. Yum. Your duck sounds luscious. Got me in the mood for duck. I need to put it on the menu, soon. Thanks for the inspiration.