Monday, March 16, 2009

Feelin' Foodie

About halfway through my day today, I got that ol' familiar feeling... I was feeling foodie for the first time in weeks.

As I walked home, I decided the centrepiece must be the Muscovy duck breast I'd had in my freezer for months. But how? And what should go with it?

Needed a vegetable. I had broccoli, that would do.

Needed starch... sweet potato? Maybe. Potato? maybe. Ooo.. rice. NO! Risotto!

Problem - I've never made risotto. Also, I only had the most boring of rices... long-grain white.

To the Internet!

Also, to the organic grocery store around the corner for some real rice. Arborio will do nicely.

Here's the result of it all:

The duck:

Need: 1 Muscovy duck breast (peking duck breast will work, but is fattier), salt, pepper, vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 400F

Similar to a chicken breast in prep for pan-roasting. I brought it to room temp, and lightly salted and peppered both sides. Some vegetable oil in a cast iron pan was heated to nice and hot before the breast was placed skin-side down. About 8 minutes later, I drained the fat, flipped the breast and put the pan in the middle rack of the oven. There it roasted for 12 minutes. Out it came, got lightly covered in foil, and rested for 5-10 minutes. The goal is medium-rare to medium. Duck is dense, and eats more like steak than chicken.


The sauce was a mix of Grand Marnier, orange juice (just a bit), ground dried orange peel, ground coriander seed, saffron, habanero powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, minced candied ginger, white wine vinegar, a little bit of ketchup (tempted to use tomato paste, but too lazy), garlic powder, salt, pepper, and horseradish. I then put this in a small pan over medium heat until it reduced to around half and was syrupy. I then put it aside to be added to the duck at the end.


Need: Arborio rice, olive oil, cold butter, chicken stock, white wine, salt, pepper, parmesan reggiano, onion

The risotto... having never made it before, I looked up the basic recipe for it. It's not hard as long as you pay attention to it the whole time.

I chopped up half a white onion and tossed it a pot of hot butter and olive oil. Once the onion was golden, I added the raw arborio rice, and stirred it up to coat it with oil. Continue to toast the rice for a couple minutes. Turn to medium-high. Add enough HOT chicken stock to not quite cover the rice. Stir VERY regularly with a wooden spoon to keep from sticking. The rice will absorb the stock. Once it's absorbed a bunch of it, add white wine to once again not quite cover the rice (I used a 2006 Deinhard Riesling I had around). Once that's almost absorbed, do the stock again. I ended up using about 1.5 cups of stock for around 2 servings of risotto. I also finished with another splash of wine. The wine-stock ratio is really a matter of personal preference. KEEP stirring, almost constantly.

The risotto is done cooking when the consistency of the rice is where you like it. Mine was unbelievably creamy. So I naturally added small cubes of cold butter and grated Parmesan Reggiano over it, and stirred that in.

It was some of the best risottos I've ever had... not that I've had much, but I LOVED it. And, it was really easy as long as you didn't ignore it.

Broccoli was easy - garlic, broccoli, green onion, wok, oil, butter, salt, pepper, stir fry.

The real trick in all this was timing. The duck takes around 30-35 minutes including resting. The risotto takes around 40. The broccoli is a 5 minute deal.

I made the sauce first. Then started the onions for the risotto, as they were were browning, I got the duck on the pan. As it worked out, the onions were ready just about when the duck was ready for the oven. I tossed in the rice, transferred the duck, and then focused on the risotto. After 12 minutes, the duck came out to rest. Once the risotto was absorbing the last of the stock, I tossed the broccoli in the wok and split my time between the wok and risotto. It all finished around the same time, I reheated the sauce, and put it on the duck once everything was plated.

In the end, it was really simple, took about an hour from start to finish, and was fucking fantastic.


KenP said...

If you have a good Mexican grocery in your area -- that seems a given any more -- pick up some Cotija cheese. It is their equivalent of Parmesan. For the price point it kicks ass. Not up to imported but nice everyday fare.

lj said...

omfg, that looks delicious!