Posts Tagged ‘duck’

24
Feb
2007

Duck Sausage Curry

Duck Sausage Curry

What do you do when you have a hankering for something different, as a curry, without breaking the bank ? You buy duck sausages ! (of course).

Last time I went to my local butchers (The excellent Meat the Butcher in Dog Swamp Shopping Centre), to find duck for my curry. The friendly chap on the other end of the meat cleaver suggested I try their duck sausages as an alternative. I decided against it at the time, as I wanted the gaminess that duck breast provides that time around… but then found myself strangely drawn back there the following week (I have a certain attraction to butchers, kitchen supply stores, and bottle shops, which I’m sure that puts me in a certain category I should be concerned about).

So I bought three lovely duck sausages at a pittance (compared to duck breast) and rushed away gleefully to find a recipe for them. But what do you know… in a first for food nerds the world over…the internet failed me… Searching for all manner of terms including “duck sausages” “duck curry sausages” “curry sausages” “+sausages +curry +duck -sweetandsour” etc provided nothing that I could easily steal and proudly claim for my own. So it was up to my wiley self to come up with something suitable.

My thinking cap firmly on, I raided the spice rack for every conceivable thing I could think of that might go well with duck sausages, and came up with this.

Duck Sausage Curry

  • 3 Duck Sausages
  • 6 baby potatoes halved
  • 1 bulb baby fennel
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon chilli powder (less if you’re a weeny)
  • 2 teaspoons fenugreek
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 100 ml coconut cream

So basically I do my curries in a similar style most times, whether it be right or wrong. I started off by dry roasting the dry spices (fennel, coriander, and fenugreek) for about 30 seconds in a hot pan, then taking them out and putting them into my mortar and pestle to be ground finely.

Then add some butter/oil/ghee (whatever you like to cook with) to the pan and fry the chopped onions, fennel, and garlic at a relatively low heat until translucent and soft. At the same time (and this is probably cheating), I have the potatoes boiling in their own pot of water, so I don’t need them to cook in the curry itself, which saves a bit of time.

So once the onion mixture is nice and soft… add all the dry spices, the turmeric, chilli powder, and other stuff that was ground up, and coat the onion mixture with it nicely, so all the turmeric is absorbed into the mixture, and it colours it. Now add your duck sausages that have been sliced up into pieces (as chunky as you like them). Stir them all around and get them coated in the onions and spices too, and perhaps add a little water if the mixture is starting to stick to the pan and dry out.

Once the sausages are nicely coated and basically cooked, add the potatoes (which should be cooked but still firm), and the coconut cream and curry leaves, and then stir it all through so the sauce is nice and thick and the colour has absorbed all throught the coconut cream. Taste it and see if it needs anything else at this point, like more chilli or salt/pepper, and if not, turn the heat down, put a lit on the pan, and let the flavours absorb for a little while.

When you’re happy with how it’s looking, and all those wonderful flavours have pervaded every corner of your kitchen. Spoon it out over a pile of steaming hot rice, and dig it. One of the tastiness creations I’ve made in a long time.

And introduce yourself to your local butcher. You never know what great things they may have in the back of those fridges just waiting for you to discover them.

13
Feb
2007

A (Curry) Night to Remember

Curry !

I had the idea recently of organising a little curry night. I’ve been getting into all sorts of curry over the past couple of years, spurred on by Sharon introducing me to some excellent Malaysian curry. I’d never really understood the curry before then. I just figured it was a hot spicey kind of soup that other people ate, and that I didn’t like. I’m not sure why I had that idea, but I think it’s an important one to get rid of if you ever want to experience all the world of food has to offer.

Since then I haven’t looked back, having tried out a whole range of Malaysian, Thai, Southern Indian, North Indian, and Vietnamese curries, a good number of Moroccan tajines (which are almost kinda like curry), and doing my best to avoid Japanese curry, which still defies all logic.

So just last Saturday night a few of our closest curry making friends dropped by to share the love, and the food in their own special way. Sharon and I spent the better part of the day procuring supplies from Kongs (the local Asian supermarket), and preparing the base for her curry. I’m always amazed walking around in those places… it’s like, just when you think you have a pretty decent grasp on a type of food, you step one foot into a store, look around, realise you don’t know what even half of the stuff is for, and suddenly feel very small again.

A recent discovery along those lines for me personally was Asafoetida… which i’m sure is pretty common to my sub continental readers, but was a complete mystery to me. Turns out it’s a kind of spice made from the resin extracted out of the stems and roots of the Ferula plant, and is used particularly by Indians who are practitioners of Jainism, as a replacement for certain foods (onions, ginger, garlic) that they aren’t allowed to eat.

That has nothing to do with this post of course, other than to state formally that I still know bugger all about a great many things… and any education my learned readers are able to give is always appreciated.

So on to the curries.

Dan and Mabel brought a lovely lamb curry, I would say vindaloo, but I might be wrong, so i’ll stay general for now.
Dave and Mel also brought a lamb curry, this was a southern Indian style dish with no coconut milk and a predominant clove, cinnamon flavour to it.
Jen and Ben brought a Bicol Express (!). My first experience with Filipino curry and apparently one of the few of such dishes that exist in the Phillipines, It’s basically pork, chicken, beans, chilli, tumeric, and… ummm, stuff. Very tasty indeed and sadly too hot for the creator to manage, but well done Jen for taking one for the team.

Sharon made a Malaysian chicken curry. This one had a lot of ginger, chilli, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, onion, tumeric… all blended into a wonderful paste that got smeared all over the chicken (one the bone) while they cooked away for a good few hours til nice and fall apart-ified.
I was stuck for options, not having a home land from which to draw curry making experience from I either had to choose from my list of previous conquests that turned out ok, or tread the lonely road of experimental curry making.

Lamb curry Duck Curry

Plucking up all my courage, I turned the pages of Mel’s curry book she had kindly lent me, and settled on one that looked sufficiently different yet still tasty… Duck curry. A slightly odd choice perhaps, and not the most well known of all curries, but it was in the book dammit, and apparently is quite popular in the Kerala region of India where water fowl are more prevalent, and clearly not fast enough to not get eaten.

So I started with Duck breast… three of em, skinned and cubed. Fried a little fenugreek and fennel seeds in some oil and then added a whole onion, two green chillis, and a good dose of shredded ginger. When that was nice and soft I added some more chilli powder and a dash of turmeric. To that lovely concoction went the duck breast, to get coated and loved with all the spices and flavours. The rest was simple, throw in a few baby potatoes, a handful of curry leaves and a spash or three of coconut cream, and Babu’s your uncle. It turned out pretty darn good even if I do say so myself, and I do… Of course I am the worlds most biased food critic, and can quite easily overlook the slighty dry and somewhat gamey texture of the duck, which perhaps would have been nicer had I used it on the bone and cooked it for a couple more hours. Still, it was a triumph for experimental curriests the world over, and a great first effort.

Mel's mango cocunut puddings

We finished off with these lovely little mango and coconut puddings that Mel lovingly coaxed out their shells and served with a good dollop of ice cream.

All in all a great night, and like all things curry, the best was yet to come. Two days later and I’m still going strong with the left overs, and as much as a fan of Johnny Cash I am, there hasn’t been one ring of fire to speak of. Thanks to everyone for putting in the effort and all I can say is the next one will have some huge expectations… Anyone know where I can buy Iguana ?

13
Sep
2006

Duck Breast with Shitake Mushroom Risotto

Shitake Mushroom & Almond Risotto with Star Anise Duck Breast

Another quick post here because I’m running behind and no doubt my hordes of loyal readers are clicking refresh each morning only to form a look of disdain as the same tired rhetoric comes up.

A simple seared duck breast and shitake mushroom risotto. The duck breast was rubbed with a spice mixture that I guess might almost equate to Chinese Five Spice if you broke it down. There was Star Anise, Cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds…so ok… four spice if you want to be picky. Dry roasted them in a pan and crushed in the mortar and pestle and then rubbed it into the duck on the skin side. Season with a little olive oil and salt (for good luck), and then place into a hot pan skin side down to sear. Once the skin is nice and crispy, flip it over and seal the bottom, before popping it into the oven to finish off.

The Shitake mushrooms I used were dried. So I soaked them in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes before using them. This had the added benefit of giving me some intense mushroom flavoured water to use in the stock, which was topped up with chicken stock and white wine.

The risotto is made as you would any other. Leeks, onion, garlic, sweat…add rice, coat, add stock x lots, add mushrooms and other bits towards the end, wait til its getting soft but still has a bit of bite… and you’re done.

One thing I have noticed is that if you leave it too long to serve and eat your risotto then it will continue cooking from the heat trapped in the body of rice, and pretty soon you’ll have overcooked stodgy rice puffs, rather than the creamy smooth risotto of 10 minutes beforehand.

Shitake Mushroom & Almond Risotto with Star Anise Duck Breast Star Anise Seared Duck Breast

So after the risotto is done, slice your duck breast in nice sexy little pieces, and layer lovingly on top of the plate, with a sprig or two of fresh coriander for decoration and sensory juxtaposition.

22
Aug
2006

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree and Kipfler Potatoes

Every now and then I get a fancy idea in my head, and for whatever reason I decide to run with it. Last Friday night was just such an occasion.

I had previously purchased a whole duck from the butcher, and had been waiting and thinking about what I was going to do with it, when I finally gave up and decided to make it up as I went along. I had invited friends over with the promise of duck for dinner, and now I had to pony up the goods (note to self… never promise anyone anything).

So after a quick search of the internet on how to debone a chicken (or duck, or other object with bones and meat shaped like a chicken or duck), I put my trusty Wusthof to work and portioned the duck off into it’s various bits and pieces. Seperated legs and thighs, wings, and breasts into sections, and collected all the bones togther in a slightly macabre little pile.

Still having no idea what I was going to make, I decided that I wasn’t going to waste the duck bones, so into the pan they went, with a little olive oil to help them brown, once done, into a pot of water with a carrot, onion, leek, fennel, and mushrooms to turn into duck stock. Having then discovered that we did in fact have a whole bag of dried Shitake mushrooms, another idea came to mind. Whatever I was going to make would be dressed with a shitake mushroom and red wine jus.

Now at the same time as the stock was boiling away, I had another idea. Having been titillated by Jules use of duck fat to roast Jerusalem artichokes, I figured I’d get down with the duck fat action myself. So I harvested as much of the precious goop as I could from the skin and bits of duck I had seperated, it was all thrown into a pot over a low heat to render down into delicious fatty ducky goodness.

Ok, so now I knew I was cooking duck… making shitake mushroom sauce, and cooking something in duck fat. Next… check fridge for other vegetables and it uncovered a cauliflower. Now there was no way I was going to serve steamed cauliflower, and so the next logical step was cauliflower puree. Into a pot it went along with a little leek and some milk to gently poach until it was nice and soft. At which point I seasoned it well and threw it all in the blender.

Now it was all turning into a meal. I had cauliflower puree, I had duck, I had sauce… Next choice, something to sit under the duck. A quick check of the pantry uncovered just what I wanted, my much loved Kipfler potatoes. Perfect for sauteeing. I did cheat a little and par boiled them in salted water to start with, just to make life easier… and when they were a little soft, into a hot pan with the duck fat to sautee away until nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Now to the duck. Inspiration still wasn’t striking me and so I went back to basics. A spice rub containing fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, salt, and cloves… I would have used star anise as well, but I’d run out. I had four portions to cook, the individual breasts (with skin on) and the maryland pieces (drumsticks with thighs attached). A smothering in olive oil and then into the pan they went, breasts skin side down. Once they were cooking away, I put a good sized knob of butter into the pan and basted the pieces in butter and the juices a little, giving each piece a poke every now and then to see how done it was.

Duck is quite a dark meat, something that turns some people off when they compare it to chicken. It has a much richer and meatier flavour however, and hence if you’re cooking a breast fillet you should try and get it a nice medium so it doesn’t dry out and go rubbery.

Once the duck was just cooked but still lovely and moist, I took it out of the pan and left it to rest, while making the sauce. Basically a red wine jus using pinot noir to deglaze and the duck stock I’d made earlier. Adding in a couple of handfuls of shitake mushrooms that had been soaking in warm water. Some cornflour to thicken slightly, and a knob of butter to finish.

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree and Kipfler Potatoes

So now I was basically done. I poured the cauliflower puree onto each place, stacked a little mound of the sauteed potatoes in the middle, sliced the duck into relatively uniform sized pieces and layered them on top, and casually (read: sloppily) drizzled the mushroom jus over the top.

Served with a side of garlic infused steamed beans and bok choy.

Our guests were kind enough to bring along a tasty bottle of Shiraz Cabernet that went just nicely with the richness of the duck and the earthy shitake mushrooms.

Not bad for a “throw it all together at the last minute” recipe… Not bad at all.