Dinner is over, and the folks have gone to the place they're staying for the night. (For some reason, they don't like to sleep on my old futon when they visit.
) We had a great time.
I started off my afternoon with some duck prep. First I broke into the whole birds and cut them into pieces. I cut off whatever excess skin I could and set it aside for rendering.
These ducks each cost me about $9 from Han Ah Reum.
I love the sight of duck parts with the light streaming through the window. This normally would have taken me about 10 mintues, but my husband called in the middle of my elite cutting action so it took me closer to 30. The Ziploced bags of carcasses go into the freezer, and then on a rainy day I make duck stock out of them. I don't bother messing with the wings, so they become part of the stock.
The various innards, the neck and the wishbone get roasted in the oven until cooked through.
Then I deglaze the pan with red wine and scrape up all the good bits on the bottom. I added veal demi-glace (duck demi would have worked well, if I'd had it) and reduced to sauce consistency. I then strained, stirred in some Maille mustard from France, and added some perfect brunoised onions sauteed in duck fat. I finished the sauce with butter at dinnertime.
The cabbage is shredded in the Cuisinart and sweated down in a pan with a thinly sliced onion in some duck fat. Meanwhile, the duck skin renders into fat in another pan.
I add vinegar, wine, chicken stock, bay leaf, fresh thyme.
When it comes to a simmer, I cover it with a cartouche (parchment circle) and stick it in a moderate oven to cook gently for about 40 minutes.
Result: Dad's favorite Rochelle vegetable.
This is the old batch of confit from the fridge. I pulled out the two legs and discarded the fat--it was time for a fresh round. The meat got shredded and crisped in the oven, and then plated under the fresh seared duck breast for the entree.
These are simple: pecans with five-spice powder, cinnamon, a tidge of salt and sugar, and butter, all sauteed together. Everybody loves these in salads or in a bowl for snacking.
Mom and Dad finally showed up. We started the evening off with a cocktail:
Dad just had to sample the Pyrat rum Busboy, Mrs. Busboy and Hillvalley gave me back in November. I had a Campari and soda. Mom stuck to caffeine-free diet coke. I like to think of my bar selection as limited but reasonably useful.
After happy hour, we moved into the dining room. We started off with the salad: butter lettuce with cranberries and the pecans. The vinaigrette was made with Hediard sherry vinegar, some interesting nut oil from Fauchon, a touch of Maille mustard, s&p. Mom really liked it.
The plated duck breast and confit with braised cabbage and the mustard sauce (on the plate). Dad was practically beside himself. Like me, he loves duck.
A very simple dessert of sauteed apples with spiced fromage blanc. We all try not to gorge on sugar and fat, so this was an appropriate ending to a lovely dinner.
Dad was messing around with the camera, and he took this picture of my mother.
He took this picture of me so he could play with the zoom function.
After dessert we cracked into the calvados I brought back from France. Mom didn't care for it as she isn't into brandies in general, but Dad and I loved the brandy/apple sensation--the heat in the throat and the full fruit flavor in the mouth. A fabulous ending to a great dinner.