09 Jan2010

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Our home pantry is at its finest during the holidays. We like to stock up on basics early (to ensure we don’t run out, and to avoid grocery hassles), and we are more likely to be fully stocked on all the other goodies most typically enjoyed during the holidays — nuts, preserves, specialty ingredients like saffron, other spices, etc. For me, it’s a real treat and pleasure to cook from a full larder and I don’t feel compelled to follow a set of carefully pre-determined menus. I tend to cook with main courses in mind, with everything else following suit based on what’s in stock, in the markets that day, or what guests might like to eat. We had a duck in the freezer and decided to cook it for a dinner for five people. If you are a long time reader of the blog, you might remember my first attempt at cooking duck which turned out rather well, and given the typhoon conditions, Pato a la Milenya, here.

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This time around, the inspiration for taking out the duck was an unopened bottle of sour cherry preserves that had been in the pantry for several months, part of a cache of preserves that sister sends our way every year. While we love jam/preserves, we actually don’t consume too much of it on a regular basis. So I thought using 1/2 a jar or so for this duck experiment was a useful and ultimately delicious way to enjoy the preserves. Return to the Pato a la Milenya recipe for the rough recipe, but substitute sour cherry preserves (preferably homemade) instead of the apricot preserves used in the original recipe. The sourness of the fruit yet lots of sugar in the preserves worked superbly in this almost impromptu, holiday-ish meal at the beach.

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The duck was paired with some blanched then roasted potatoes, carrots and onions with olive oil and herbs. We also roasted two leftover butternut squashes with butter and brown sugar.

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We also made a quick cold salad of haricots verts, or small french beans tossed with grape tomatoes and dressed with oil and vinegar and lots of chopped fresh herbs. Simple recipe for this up next.

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The “gravy” or sauce made with the pan juices, duck stock, and sour cherry was delicious, albeit fat laden, and though we tried to delude ourselves this was one of the healthier meals of the holidays, I suspect it was right up there both calorie and cholesterol counts… :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. peachkins says:

    wow this is yummy!

    Jan 9, 2010 | 8:04 pm

     
  2. Gej says:

    Nice!
    What kind of duck did you use? Local or imported (the imported ones are pricey, right?)? Would you know what kind of duck would be nice to raise in the Philippines for meat?

    Jan 9, 2010 | 9:22 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Gej, I used one of the imported ones, wrapped up in white stretch plastic. It was roughly PHP900. It served 5 easily, so at PHP180 per person it wasn’t cheap, but it was a whole lot cheaper than a mediocre steak or other main course options. I believe these at Pekin style ducks raised in Long Island or other U.S. states… they are great for roasting, even if they were in the deep freeze for several weeks or months…

    Jan 9, 2010 | 9:40 pm

     
  4. gina says:

    Hi-

    This is off-topic: I’m looking for a recipe for cornstarch cookies. My mom used to bake them all the time, but we’ve lost her recipe. Does anyone out there have a recipe? I tried several recipes on the internet, but none like my mom’s.

    Thanks.

    Jan 9, 2010 | 11:10 pm

     
  5. thelma says:

    what perfect meal!

    Jan 9, 2010 | 11:24 pm

     
  6. Vicky Go says:

    My family will have nothing but duck instead of turkey for Thanksgiving & Christmas. I’ve taken the easy way out & bought already roasted whole ducks (head & all) Peking style or otherwise from China Town. But I finish them off (I always get two) w my own sauce. I warm up the ducks (kept in the fridge for a day or two) in an oven set at 350 F – but as you said, not preheated. This renders a lot of the fat that is still in the duck. I drain the fat off (chill & save it & use for frying up garlic & onions for stews or soups later on – same as bacon drippings). Return the duck to the roasting pan, breast side down (on a rack) – brush w the basting sauce (mix of hoisin sauce, honey, sweet dark soy sauce & sugar – this should be heated up & will be thin – add the duck sauce that came w the duck – no fat in it). Raise temp to 400F & cook for 5-10 min. Take it out of the oven, turn breast side up on the rack, brush with more of the basting sauce & return to cook for another 5-10 minutes. Watch that the duck doesn’t burn. Take out of the oven, cover loosely w foil & let rest. Meanwhile thicken the basting sauce by simmering it, adjust seasoning & when done stir in sesame oil.
    Serve duck w scallion “brushes” & the sauce.
    When I did it from scratch, I rubbed the thawed ducks inside and out w S&P, lots of crushed ginger, cinnamon & stuck clove ‘nails’ all over its body & put some inside cavity. Wrapped the duck in foil or plastic wrap & kept refrigerated for a day or at least overnight.
    Then I steam-roasted the duck on a rack in the oven (covered w foil) at low temp 250-300 F for maybe 2-3 hrs. After which I took out all the spices, pricked duck to release fat, let drain well. Then rubbed gently dry inside & out w paper towels & proceeded w the browning as up top. The skin doesn’t come out as crispy as the store-bought pre-cooked Peking ducks but it’s good enough & very tasty! A lot of work though!

    Jan 9, 2010 | 11:25 pm

     
  7. Maki says:

    wow.. this looks good… hmmmmm…

    Jan 10, 2010 | 12:07 am

     
  8. betty q. says:

    A friend from up North when we lived there taught me how to make Peking Duck. Their family used to own a Chinese restaurant. Yes, Vicky…it is labour intensive just like the ZUBUCHON! So yesterday my boys treated me to a birthday dinner and they ordered Peking Duck I must say i was impressed for they knew what to order and took command. I just sat there. They even split the bill between the 2 of them!

    Come to think of it, MM…maybe a DUCK Zubuchon?

    Jan 10, 2010 | 1:15 am

     
  9. denise says:

    I’ve only had duck a few times (mostly Peking Duck or some version of it)…I’m trying to brave up and try native fried itik :D

    the side dishes reminded me of my recent failed attempt at dieting,hehe…i didn’t use brown sugar or butter on the butternut squash though (coz I couldn’t have sugar or butter/oil)…just a little salt and pepper

    Jan 10, 2010 | 2:27 am

     
  10. Vicky Go says:

    @Betty Q – actually, Peking duck calls for using a bicycle pump to separate the skin from the body, & then bathing the duck while it’s hanging by the neck – w the tail shut tight to keep seasonings in – w hot oil or basting “broth” while it cooks in an oven. One can approximate this process by using a vertical roasting contraption but the juices will not stay inside the cavity (because that’s how the duck or bird stays upright). A roughly similar technique to beer roasted chicken where you stick a half full can of beer through the chicken’s a-hole & roast it upright in the oven basting the bird every so often. Yes, it’s best to have the Peking duck in a good Chinese resto where they serve the perfectly roasted duck w the crisp skin inside thin dumplings, like a sandwich – dabbed w hoisin sauce & w julienned scallions. No mess, no fuss!

    Jan 10, 2010 | 3:33 am

     
  11. thelma says:

    we had chinese foreign students staying next door to us when we were
    living at the uc berkeley married housing apartments. occasionally, i
    would see them hanging dressed peking ducks by the window. i thought
    that seemed odd…

    Jan 10, 2010 | 6:59 am

     
  12. thelma says:

    ooooops, i mean uc berkeley married students housing apartments….

    Jan 10, 2010 | 7:05 am

     
  13. betty q. says:

    Yup, Vicky! It was quite a production…one that I will attempt only if there is no Chinese resto around where we end up next in another lifetime. We roasted it in the barbecue with one side heat turned off and added some wood chips to give it a smokey flavour. It was the best tasting Peking Duck . But the wrappers we made were like green onion pancakes which tasted waaaaay better than the ones we had last night.

    Jan 10, 2010 | 7:18 am

     
  14. emsy says:

    Oh gosh. I love duck. Must try this soon! I can actually see the layer of oil on top of the gravy. Oh well…!

    Jan 10, 2010 | 9:58 am

     
  15. giancarlo says:

    looks good.

    Jan 10, 2010 | 10:26 am

     
  16. Angela says:

    That’s a mighty fine looking duck, MM.

    I finally bit the bullet and ordered several Montmorency cherry trees (sour cherries) to plant in the spring. I love sour cherries and spend a fortune on them every summer at the farmers markets ($11/lb. was the cheapest I could find; I usually purchase 5-8 lbs at each weekly visit. Ouch!!). It’ll take a couple of years for them to be productive fruit bearers, but boy, have I got plans. Sour cherry preserves, maraschino cherries, . . .

    Jan 10, 2010 | 12:22 pm

     
  17. millet says:

    that’s a mean-looking duck! tried roasting a native duck once —bad idea. i guess the native ones are only good for adobo.

    Jan 10, 2010 | 3:10 pm

     
  18. Gej says:

    Thanks Marketman. Really nice post .

    Millet, what was the native duck you tried roasting? Muskovy? Big with a somewhat long neck or a short one?

    Is Peking duck a method of preparing duck or a type of duck?

    Jan 10, 2010 | 8:27 pm

     
  19. Marketman says:

    Gej, I was referring to a type of duck, here, or otherwise referred to as a Long Island Duck…

    Jan 10, 2010 | 8:33 pm

     
  20. millet says:

    Gej, i have no idea. it grew from an easter sunday duckling, feeding on all everything in the garden, and when it was big enough, my helper hauled it off to the chopping block. we had a running joke about how we did not need to season it anymore, since it had eaten all of the tarragon, basil, mint, chives and lemon balm in the herb garden during its short life.

    Jan 10, 2010 | 10:35 pm

     
  21. k. ramos says:

    Did you use the hair dryer again, MM? :D

    Jan 11, 2010 | 3:00 am

     
  22. Gej says:

    Thanks Marketman. Hopefully there should be no problem raising the Pekin Duck locally. With the price the imported ones currently fetch, it’s sure worth a try.
    Thanks Millet. Looks like a muscovy duck you had. With an expensive diet – ha ha!
    I have a friend who raises ducks on used grain gathered from nearby restaurants – for free of course. Better find out what kind of duck he has – too big to be muscovy, I think.

    Jan 11, 2010 | 6:23 am

     
  23. Betchay says:

    off topic—-Happy Birthday BettyQ! We’re both capricorns pala! May you have many more!

    Jan 11, 2010 | 1:41 pm

     
  24. mommy says:

    Hi MM, the roasted duck looks so yummy. I was wondering if you could give us tips on how to prepare duck soup from leftover bones of peking duck or any duck for that matter. Thanks and Happy new year!

    Jan 12, 2010 | 2:15 am

     
  25. sister says:

    Angela, which state are you in? Even in NYC the highest price I’ve seen for sour cherries is $5./lb and only available in July. I think $5. is pretty steep specially when they are 30 cents a lb. in Michigan where they are canned for pie filling.

    Jan 12, 2010 | 7:13 am

     
 

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