Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day Dinner... one day late...

So.... New Year's Day Dinner. Finally.

I usually do a whole roasted duck, but I managed to think ahead enough to do Alton Brown's Mighty Duck this time around. I love this recipe. Didn't work perfectly for me due to my own mistakes, but for the most part, I loved it, because ....

In the past, when making duck, I have had so many issues with all the hot, searing duck fat that is a result of the process that I could go in wearing a full-body hazmat suit and I'd still end up getting burned. I usually cook in a shelf-bra tank top since it's breezy and I'm not going to get any clothing in food. In the past, I've paid the price by getting searing hot duck fat on my arms and decolletage. Or dropping my pricey digital thermometer into hot duck fat. Twice.

Not a single problem with duck fat with this recipe. Most of it ends up in the steaming liquid, which can be stuck in the fridge so you can rescue the tasty fat later. I like that a lot better than ripping off my top in the middle of cooking because it is covered in fat. Which did happen one year.

Anyway...

Some years, trying to shop, I've had problems trying to find a duck. They seem to have them everywhere up until after Christmas. This year, I managed to snag the last duck from the produce mart. It was the first place I looked, so I was also pretty happy. I also managed to snag the last bag of frozen black eyed peas. I usually follow southern traditions a little and like to do something with black eyes peas.

I was kinda surprised at how easy it was to quarter the duck pretty much just using my kitchen shears. Really, it's something you'd have to mess up pretty badly to totally mess it up.

Duck in it's marinade, and a bag of various duck parts that went right into the freezer to be used when I make duck stock this weekend...



The recipe actually calls for steaming your duck after the marinating. I've always wanted to try this, but never had a pot it would work in. Bring on the new addition to my cookware, the Le Creuset!! Too bad I didn't have a proper steamer - what I really needed was one of those metal collapsible steamer things... I did it in a steamer think I have for my Cuisinart pots. No problems cooking it, but the pieces did take on some odd shapes which made them harder to brown correctly.

The steamed duck....



And all browned and yummy with crispy (spots of) skin after the oven.....



While that rested, on to the side dishes!



I made some brunoise earlier in the day to add to some already cooked spaetzle with some butter, and them some mustard greens and black eyed peas to the duck fat left in the cast iron skilet I used for the duck.

The greens and beans...



Didn't turn out too tasty. I don't have much of a fondness for greens so far... but all the times I have cooked them, I usually did a quick cook of them in a skillet, and they come out bitter. We each only had a couple of bites of greens.



The spaetzle and veggies (carrots, turnip and leeks). Very yummy. I did this with our roast duck last year and it actually paired very nicely with duck... not too rich, just enough veg to stand up to it. Now I just need to figure out what the heck to do with the extra two cups of brunoise that I have on hand.

All and all, a very nice NYD meal. Much better than some past ones. The duck meat was fantastic, and the cripsy skin was fan-flippin-tastic, with some more work and the right steamer thing it would be awesomeness.

Here is hoping that the majority of my cooking for the year goes as well, if not better.

Happy 2009!!!

2 comments:

Rosie Hawthorne said...

You've inspired me to try duck again.
I haven't cooked one in a long time and I love me some duck.

MrsVJW said...

The Mighty Duck recipe really does make it a no-brainer of a recipe... as long as you can plan out the time for marinating and cooking, it's a breeze to do.