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Posts tagged ‘duck’

The Duck Press: A French Classic

In the history of world cuisine, French chefs have been accused of being many things, but rarely ever “shy.” The French tradition holds dear the notion of not only using every part of an animal, leaving nothing edible to waste, but also of celebrating certain dishes that that often make more squeamish diners fold their napkins away and politely excuse themselves from the table.

There’s foie gras, of course, the production of which is abhorred by many and cherished by many more (us included, obviously). And then we have the ortolan, a small songbird that, due to the traditional preparation — it is gorged on grains, drowned in Armagnac and then roasted, served, and consumed in a single mouthful– has become illegal in France, although many intrepid diners continue to find gastronomic speakeasies that continue to serve it.

But one of our absolute favorite dishes — and kitchen implements — is the much lauded and feared duck press. Considered by many to be the most spectacular entree in classical French cuisine, the duck press is a device and method of preparation that was invented by a man named Machenet in Paris at the dawn of the 19th century, quickly becoming popular among the culinarily elite. The contraption, and its corresponding dish, canard à la rouennaise (or, “duck in blood sauce”) was later adopted by Chef Frèdèric of the restaurant La Tour d’ Argent (or “Silver Tower”), making it his restaurant’s signature dish, which they continue to serve today.

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La Tour d’Argent issues a card with the number of your pressed duck, in sequence from the very first duck they every pressed.

So, what is this infamous dish often labeled as barbaric and macabre? It begins simply, with one of our favorite things in the world: a roasted duck. The whole duck — and this includes all of the internal organs, particularly the heart and lungs of the beast, though the liver is removed and reserved — is seasoned, the skin lightly scored, and then roasted. Some chefs, including Daniel Boulud, opt to marinate the duck for up to two days before roasting quickly over very high heat, until the duck is appropriately rare. The beautifully roasted bird is carried by the chef to the diners’ table, where the rest of the elaborate process continues in full view of the restaurant’s guests. The duck’s magret (breasts) and legs are removed and reserved, and the chef uses poultry shears to cut the remaining carcass in half lengthwise.Duck Press 2

Now comes the fun part.

The chef packs the roasted carcass and internal organs into the duck press, a large, squat, menacing piece of kitchen machinery, usually made from a heavy metal such as brass, with a large crank, a wheel, and four legs that are sometimes, in a delightfully morbid fashion, made to look like duck feet. Many people like to compare the object to a medieval torture device, and, if you get a chance to see one, you’d be hard “pressed” do disagree. The increasing pressure of the crank plate compacts the bird until its bones are pulverized, the organs liquified, and the carcass blood juices out of the animal, all of which sluice through a small spout in the duck press and are collected in a pan, then strained through a fine chinois.

Duck press spigot

The chef then thickens the mixture with the pureed duck liver, adds Cognac and red wine, and reduces it carefully until it achieves a deep burgundy, almost black color. Diners are then treated to thin slices of the duck breast in the exquisite blood sauce, followed by a second course of roasted duck legs and thighs.

You'll never guess what's being pressed!

Ariane and Chef David Burke press a Bloody Mary.

Duck presses aren’t easy or inexpensive to come by these days, though our friends Chef David Burke and Chef Daniel Boulud both use them. While pressed duck isn’t nearly as popular as it was in nineteenth-century Paris, the tradition of the duck press — whether or not you consider it macabre or sublime — continues. And for that, we are most certainly thankful.

Cooking with Duck

As you might expect, there are quite a few duck recipes on our website. From the meaty breast of the mighty moulard duck to a tender leg of duck confit, we love it all. If you are stuck on duck like us, have a gander at this selection of recipes. And enjoy this video of Sara Moulton and Ariane demonstrating how super easy it is to sear a duck breast for dinner. Duck breast is the new steak, after all.

Crispy Duck Salad

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This simple and refreshing duck salad makes a cooling first course or light lunch. The tangy lime vinaigrette is tempered by rich duck and a drizzle of sweet, Thai-style sauce.

YIELD: 2 AS A MAIN COURSE, 4 AS A STARTER

Ingredients

2 duck leg confit
1 heart of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 head bibb lettuce, chopped
½ English cucumber, sliced into thin batons
1 handful mung bean sprouts
2 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
6 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Sesame seeds, to garnish

FOR THE SAUCE

½ cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 thai chiles, finely minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce

FOR THE DRESSING

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 small Thai chiles, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Preparation

1. Make the sauce: Combine ingredients in small sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce reaches a syrupy consistency, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

2. Broil the duck legs until skin is browned and crispy, and meat is heated through. Carefully remove from the bones and shred.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add lettuces, mung beans, cucumber and herbs. Toss to coat. Divide salad between two plates. Top with shredded duck. Drizzle a little of the reserved sauce over the duck. Garnish with sesame seeds.

 Duck with Green Picholine Olives

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The green Picholine olives in Chef Daniel Boulud’s braised duck provide juicy bites of tart, salty flavor.

YIELD: 4-6

Ingredients

4-6 moulard duck legs, about 3 lbs
Kosher salt
Coarsely-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon, sliced, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 small onions, peeled, trimmed and chopped
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
1/2 cup green Picholine olives, pitted
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock

Preparation

1.The night before you plan to serve the dish, place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Season the duck with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a medium cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the duck legs and sear until golden brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes.

3. Transfer the duck to a platter. Pour off the excess fat from the pot. Return the duck to the pot along with the bacon and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon out any fat out of the pot. Add the carrots, onions, turnips, olives, thyme, and bay leaf, and pour in the stock. Transfer the pot to the oven and braise, covered, for 2 hours, until the duck is tender. Chill overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the layer of fat from the top of the sauce and heat the duck in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf and serve.

 Five Spice Duck Breast

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YIELD: 4

Heady Chinese five spice and a sticky-sweet sauce spiked with star anise make a wonderful complement to rich duck breast.

Ingredients

4 duck magret half-breasts
2 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 star anise, broken in half
8 baby bok choi
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, sliced on the bias
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
¾ cup duck and veal demi-glace
2 tsp honey
Steamed Rice, for serving

Preparation

1. With a sharp paring knife, score the fat of each duck breast in a cross-hatch pattern, making sure not to cut into the meat. In a small bowl, mix together five spice, salt and pepper. Rub the duck breasts with the spice mixture. Heat a heavy frying pan over high flame. When hot, add the duck breasts skin-side down. Turn the heat down to medium and and cook for 5-6 minutes or until the skin is very crisp and brown and the fat has rendered from under the skin. Tip out any excess fat. Turn the breasts over and add the star anise to the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the duck breasts feel firm to the touch but not too solid – you want them pink in the middle. Take the duck out and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

2. To the same pan, over medium high heat, add the demi-glace, soy sauce, and honey, stirring to combine and, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the bok choy and scallions. Cook, turning to coat, until the bok choy is cooked through but not soggy.

3. Serve duck breasts over rice with steamed bok choy. Spoon sauce over the top.

Blue Ribbon’s Duck Club Sandwich

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YIELD: 4 SANDWICHES

This recipe, from the excellent Blue Ribbon Cookbook, is the Bromberg Brother’s twist on a classic club sandwich using flavorful duck instead of turkey. We consider it lunch heaven in the palms of your hands.

Ingredients

4 Muscovy duck breasts, about 8 ounces each
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
12 slices raisin bread, toasted
4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the duck breasts in a cross-hatch pattern, being careful not to cut the meat. Season generously. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the duck breasts, skin side down, until the skin browns and the fat renders, about 8 minutes. Place the duck, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 140 degrees F, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest and cool. Once cooled, slice very thin against the grain.

3.To assemble the sandwich, spread 1 tablespoon mayonnaise on each of 4 slices of toast and sprinkle with half of the bacon. Divide the lettuce evenly among the breast slices then top each with half of the sliced duck. Top with second layer of toast and spread the remaining mayonnaise over the slices. Sprinkle with the remaining bacon. Top with tomato, onion, and the remaining duck. Cover the sandwiches with the remaining slices of toast, cut into quarters and serve with your favorite potato chips.

 

Visit our website for more recipes like these, and please share your home-cooked duck dishes on our Facebook or Twitter pages with the #duckspotting. We love to see what’s happening in the kitchen.

Duck in for Deals!

You lucky duck. No sooner did Charc Week end … and now there’s a special deal on all things duck at dartagnan.com.

Enjoy 20% off duck all week. But do it before Sunday, September 14 at midnight EST.

And please let us know what you’re cooking! Share your duck dishes with us on Facebook or Twitter. Tag your posts #duckspotting.

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Ariane Debunks the Foie Gras Myths

Ariane has been preaching the gospel of foie gras since the earliest days of D’Artagnan. She started the company to sell the first fresh foie gras raised in the United States. Today she is the leading expert on the subject.

Erin Mosbaugh at the blog First We Feast interviewed her on the controversial topic, visited Hudson Valley Foie Gras, our partner farm, and came away with a better understanding of foie gras.

We share their post and hope that you will share it in turn. Foie gras is a topic that excites a lot of passion on both sides. We only ask that people consider all the facts before drawing conclusions about foie gras. Lucky for those who want to do that, First We Feast does a fine job of explaining and debunking the common myths.

Ariane First We Feast Foie Gras Screen Shot

For those who want to learn more about foie gras, try the Artisan Farmers Alliance. And if you want to order some foie gras, we have plenty available on our website, along with recipes to inspire. (Yes, we can ship foie gras to citizens of California. The prohibition on foie gras applies only to sales and production in the state.)

foie gras recipes panel

Duck Fat 50: Kale Chips Done Right

It seems like the whole world suddenly became obsessed with kale. Well, we like a leafy green just fine, especially when it’s cooked in duck fat. Hey, everything tastes better with duck fat.

Just take your kale cooked, and in moderation. There’s been a few reports lately about the dangers of too much kale, especially when eaten raw. It’s best to cook it, and we suggest using duck fat to do that. It imparts a wonderful flavor and crispy texture. Plus, duck fat is 15% off along with all the other good things from the duck this week at dartagnan.com.

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Duck Fat Kale Chips

  • 1 bunch kale or bag of cleaned, chopped kale
  • 2 Tbs. duck fat at room temperature or slightly melted
  • finely ground sea salt
  • Piment d’Epelette or black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

1. Rip or cut the thick stems off the kale. Discard the stems.

2. Wash the kale and then dry it well in a salad spinner (or use pre-washed kale).

3. Rip the kale into chip-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.

4. Drizzle the softened duck fat, which should be a thick liquid consistency and toss to coat, using your hands to thoroughly mix it into the kale leaves. Try to use just enough duck fat to coat the kale, but not so much that the chips will be overly greasy.

5. Place kale on a baking sheet in a single layer. Do not overlap or crowd the pieces.

6. Sprinkle with salt and piment d’Espelette, then Parmesan cheese.

7. Bake the kale chips in a 400 degree oven for about 9 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from baking to burning pretty fast.  

Here’s our little video to show you how.

Get Deals on Duck!

We are obsessed with duck. It’s kind of our thing. And we’ve heard that you like duck as much as we do.

That’s why we’re kicking off the month of March with a giant all-things-duck sale!

This means that duck leg confit, raw moulard duck breast, whole Rohan, Muscovy or Pekin duck, smoked duck breast, duck rillettes, duck prosciutto, duck bacon, duck sausage, duck fat and even our cassoulet kit (it’s got duck in it!) are all specially priced to tempt you.

What are you waiting for?  Shop and save 15% on any duck of your choice this week at dartagnan.com.

If you need a little inspiration …

02737CT191Duck a la orange recipe

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Saveur and The World of Duck

The December issue of Saveur magazine has a cover story about our favorite bird: duck.  Yes, it mentions us,  but that’s not why we think it’s a great piece. Our friend Hank Shaw is also quoted, which is appropriate. His new book “Duck, Duck, Goose” is our favorite book of the season. It’s got all you could possibly need to know about ducks and geese, along with some fine recipes.

You can read the entire fantastic article  on the Saveur site, after which we wager you’ll be inspired to cook some duck for dinner.

It’s really quite easy, as this Saveur video with Ariane proves. Her seared duck magret is a tradition handed down by her father, Chef Andre Daguin, who invented the preparation. Read, watch and then get in the kitchen and make duck!

saveur cover

We love these illustrations Saveur did of our products. This is a really useful breakdown of all the parts of the duck. Everything but the quack.

saveur the elements of duck

Thanksgivukkah Comes But Once Every 79,000 Years

You’ve surely heard. It’s being touted by the media as a once-in-a-lifetime event. The convergence of the Jewish and Gregorian calendars brings us a hybrid holiday this year: Thanksgivukkah.

Hanukkah falls early this year, with the first night of the Festival of Lights on Wednesday, November 27. And Thanksgiving is later than normal on Thursday, November 28.

So Jewish families will find themselves lighting a menorah after their turkey dinner on the second night of Hanukkah. And that means …

Thanksgivukkah

It might have been called Chanksgiving, but in a frenzy of excitement surrounding this unique holiday, the most common appellation is Thanksgivukkah. Seems it’s the winning hashtag. And once the mayor of Boston said he would proclaim November 28, 2013 “Thanksgivukkah,” the name stuck.

Thanksgivukkah has inspired products like the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey (a nine-year-old kid created it!), t-shirts, cards, and an all-things Thanksgivukkah website. Rabbis have been commenting on it, and Buzzfeed weighed in with a credible mash-up menu for the festival (Manischewitz-brined turkey, anyone?).

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Light your menurkey.

Even satirist Stephen Colbert has commented on the phenomenon with a sketch, and this song parody supplies an anthem for Thanksgivukkah.

We are not falling for the hype…OK, maybe just a little. Come on, it’s not going to happen for another 79,000 or so. Let’s celebrate!

That means food in our book. Our friends at Bon Appetit have been unimpressed with the weird Thanksgivukkah recipes populating the internet, and their post about the worst-ever Thanksgivukkah menu had us chuckling.

So we’re just going to recommend a few of our favorite recipes that are appropriate for the occasion.  You decide how carried away you want to get with it.

First up, cassoulet. Granted, we have a little pork in our recipe (ventrèche is salted pork belly), but this bean and meat stew bears more than a little resemblance to cholent, a slow-cooked bean and meat stew served at countless Sabbath meals over the centuries in Eastern Europe. And with all due respect to kosher laws, the pork really adds something special. Cassoulet would make a perfect centerpiece for a Thanksgivukkah meal.

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Cassoulet serves a crowd.

For a more literal interpretation, try our potato latkes topped with foie gras and apples, which we just posted on the blog here.

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Potato latkes with foie gras

The legs of duck make beautiful confit when slow cooked in their own fat, and when they are shredded…well, we think duck rillettes are one of the most satisfying meat spreads around. Slice a baguette and get a jar of cornichons. Long live the duck fat!

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Duck rillettes

And speaking of confit, garlic can be cooked in duck fat for mellow, tender cloves that are virtually spreadable. We like them in any dish calling for garlic, and love stuffing poultry with the savory tidbits.

Cloves cooked.

Cloves cooked.

Sufganiyot are doughnuts, traditionally eaten because all the oil represents the miracle of the oil that Hanukkah is based upon. We use duck fat in the dough and in the fryer when we make doughnuts. You will agree this is divine once you taste them.  

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Duck fat doughnuts.

Of course, for a smaller gathering on any night of the holiday (Hanukkah lasts eight nights…does that mean Thanksgivukkah does too?) , a de-boned turkey breast that has been slathered with black truffle butter before roasting makes a very satisfying feast.

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Turkey roulade with black truffle butter.

Perhaps our newest product offers the simplest solution. Our Jean Reno Reserve Oil is much like the oil used in the Jewish temple to light the menorah. It is pure and is made using ancient techniques. And you can use it as a finishing oil without much fuss or forceful combining of recipes. It’s a lazy, but elegant solution.

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Celebrate the miracle of the olive oil.

Whatever you eat, however you celebrate it, Thanksgivukkah is the rarest of holidays. Enjoy it!

Sale: All Things Duck

We love autumn and we love duck. In honor of both (they make a great combination) we’re having a 15% off sale on all things ducky at http://www.dartagnan.com. Get inspired and start cooking! HPC_DuckSale

Armchair Traveler: Gascony

We love Michael Ruhlman’s writing, whether it’s in a cookbook, his blog or even twitter. But this article in the July issue of Conde Nast Traveler about his culinary pilgrimage to Gascony is enough to make the stomach rumble. It’s possible that we are a little biased; Ariane is quoted in the article, and of course, she is Gascon to the bone.

Settle in and give Michael your undivided attention for a little while. You will be rewarded with an appreciation for Gascony; the people, the beauty of the countryside, the way that agriculture and food are intertwined, and the intense devotion to eating, drinking and living well.

Plus, you will get a sense of the ethos that built D’Artagnan, as Ariane has worked for 28 years to bring these sensibilities to the culinary scene in the United States.

Breakfast at the Kitchen at Camont. Photo: Gentl & Hyers, Conde Nast Traveler

You may want to pour yourself a glass of wine (or Armagnac) to sip while you find out why ancient Gascony is France’s new foodie destination. And then book your trip. It’s that inspiring.

The rolling hills of Gascony, France. Photo: Gentl & Hyers, Conde Nast Traveler