Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Duck Carnitas... again. In case you also want to go to there.

It is always nice when something so awesome good is also so damned easy.

Duck carnitas.  And you don't even have to make it as complicated as the original recipe.

Buy a whole duck.  If you're feeding more than about 3 people, you might also want to hunt down a few more duck legs for more meat.

If you need to section the duck yourself... it's really not that hard.  Most poultry can be broken down using just a good pair of poultry shears, and you cut the risks of harming yourself with a knife.  You need to cut out the spine, then you can cut the bird into halves, and then section out the breast from the leg portion.  And when you're doing it for the shredded meat, it really doesn't matter how pretty it is.

Season with some garlic cloves and a tablespoon or two of oregano, salt, then squeeze a lime over the top of the duck.

I usually let it marinate for at least a day. 

On what is usually the next evening, I will pull out the duck and put it in the slow cooker to cook overnight.  I also add a slab of salt pork.  Pork + duck is actually one of the flavors of a now-forbidden Chinese food favorite - pressed almond duck (sorry, anyone who avoids pork products who may now feel guilty about eating that now).

And hey... if you happen to have a half a quart of duck fat from the last time you made this... throw that in too!

Yeah... when the hubby saw me throwing THAT in there too, he said "I DON'T EVER WANT TO SEE HOW YOU MAKE THAT AGAIN BECAUSE NOW I KNOW IT IS BAD FOR ME BUT THEY ARE SO GOOD!".  Which pretty much sums it up.

I also do have the duck spine and neck in the bottom of the pot - makes it easier to fish out the cooked bits on top, and you do end up with some duck broth at the end of it all, so might as well use them.  Or just throw them in the freezer and use them (along with the duck bones when you are done) to make some stock.

I let that go overnight, and then as carefully as possible I fish out the legs and the breasts, and throw them in the fridge to deal with when I get home from work.

You should also save all that delicious duck fat... I usually strain off the solids and just throw the whole thing into the fridge.  The fat will come to the top, and on the bottom you have some duck broth.

Next, you need to pull off the skin as carefully as possible, since you will fry that up later.  Then you pull all the meat off the duck and shred that.

And this is the best part.  All that skin you peeled off?

You put a little duck fat into the bottom of your skillet, and then you fry up the skin until it is nice & crispy like good bacon.

The whole recipe would be worth it for that alone.  When I was making these, the hubby walked into the house in a sour mood (had to work late) but he immediately came over to the cooling/draining plate of duck skins, picked one up, took a bite and smiled.  All ills temporarily forgotten.

With the meat, you throw that into your skillet (with a little of the fat leftover from cooking the skins - I usually have to drain off a bit) and cook that, turning often, until it starts to get a little brown and crispy.

Now tell me that you don't want to slap some of that into a tortilla and start eating.  I know I love Duck Carnitas nights.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yes Wheat-free Etouffee.

I love that commercial.  That is basically my favorite type of cooking.  Last week, it was veal stock (oh, can't run to the store, honey, I've got veal stock reducing on the stove.  Which pretty much means walking past it every 20 minutes, skimming off any skum, and not doing much else).  This week, it was a wheat-flour-less oven roux.

Etouffee needs a brown roux.  And a brown roux is very, very easy to make in an oven.  1 part oil (I also used some bacon fat) and 1 part flour.  I started with what I thought was a sohrgum flour blend, but one hour in went "wow, it smells like popcorn, I think I used my corn flour" so I added another non-wheat flour blend and some more oil.  Cooked it at 350 degrees and stirred it every 20-30 minutes until I got the color I wanted.

Cooked up some onion, red pepper (used my green pepper yesterday, oops!), celery and garlic.  Added a couple cups of shrimp stock I had in the freezer, and a cup of the veal stock from last weekend.  Let that simmer with some bay leaves and thyme, and tossed in some crawfish tails and green onion at the end.

Delicious.  Tasted like any other good etouffee.

I need it.

I haven't exactly been happy with food for the past few months.  My allergy to wheat is apparently extremely sensative.  I can't eat candy that has been made on the same lines where they have used any wheat.  Other things that seem to be fine for people with things like celiac are NOT okay for me.  And last Thursday and Friday I was having a reaction to something... the suspected culprit was a friggin' RICE CAKE.  From a package that labels them as wheat free, says they have no wheat where they make them, etc. etc.  Too bad that when they grow the rice for those cakes, they also use oats as a cover crop, and either the oats are tainted enough to impact folks or it's just a sensativity to oats sometimes comes along with wheat stuff... I donno.

When you can be felled by a rice cake, yeah... you might start to have issues with food.

Which is why I need to get back to doing things that are "so good, so easy".  Veal stock.  I can't recall the last time I made garlic confit.  Oven roux.  Simmered heavy cream for a sauce that can even make gluten-free pasta good.