Monday, November 18, 2013

Roast Duck

It's that time of year.  Time to roast a duck.  This is a simple preparation, but it does take a few steps and a little planning for time.  But this fairly easy recipe produces a tender and crispy duck.  

1 Duck, about 5 pounds
Chicken Stock, 3-5 quarts
½ Onion, thickly sliced
2 Bay leaves
1 Sprig rosemary
½ Cup dry vermouth
½ Cup orange juice
To prepare the duck, trim off all excess fat and the wing tips.  Using kitchen string to truss the duck so that the wings are tucked in and the legs are tight against the breast.  Use a fork to prick the fat on the breast of the duck all over.  Let rest at room temp for about 30 minutes.

Combine all ingredients, but the duck, in a pot just large enough to fit the duck.  The amount of stock you use will depend on the size of pan, but it needs to be enough to cover the duck.  Bring to a boil.  Add the duck, breast side down, and simmer for 45 minutes.  Drain, set onto a roasting pan and let sit to dry for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. 
Heat oven to 500f.  Roast the duck for 30 minutes.  Remove and let rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.

Degrease the cooking stock and strain the solids out.  You can toss the stock, keep/freeze it to make a soup or make a sauce.  I reduced the stock to about ¼ of it original volume by keeping it on a rolling boil for about 25-30 minutes.  

In our house, we love sauce or gravy with any roasted meat and tonight is no different.  I recommend the sauce route for the cooking stock.  Yum!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Roasted Matsutake Mushrooms

In all honesty, I am tired of that curry lamb dish on the front page of my blog.  Chris is traveling and the girls and I are eating simple.  So, I post tonight with nothing much new to report, but this quick matsutake mushroom dish.  I have never cooked with matsutake mushrooms.  I often wondered about them, but never picked up any because they were so expensive.  But today, Uwajimaya had a bounty of them, priced differently according to their quality grade.  I did a little research as to the grading process. It seems the best of the best are the ones where the caps are still closed and tight to the stem.  The gills will not be showing at all.  The ones I purchased are close to the top, but not the absolute best, at $19.99 per pound.  The NY Times recently published this interesting article about foraging for matsutakes in Oregon.  After reading the article, I know why they are now down in my price range.  Still, it seems a lot of cost was incurred getting them to the shelves at market.
For my first cooking experience with matsutake mushrooms, I went with the simplest method.  Outside of the traditional rice dish, which I was even too lazy to make, I went with this super simple preparation.

¾ pounds matsutake mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter, melted
freshly ground pepper
fleur de sel

To clean the mushrooms, cut off the very end of the stems.  Use a mushroom brush, paper towel, or your fingers to brush any dirt off the mushrooms.  If needed, rinse gently with water, but do not let the water soak into the underside or gills of the mushrooms.
Heat oven to 450f.
Slice the mushrooms into ¼ inch thick pieces.
Place onto a baking sheet or cast iron skillet.
Drizzle the butter over top.
Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and fleur de sel.
Roast the mushrooms until tender, for about 8-12 minutes, stirring once in the process.  The mushrooms should still hold their shape and be tender without being limp.

They had a woodsy taste with a hint of cinnamon, very distinct in flavor.  Definitely robust enough to hold other flavors.  Next time I will try them with a little soy, mirin and sake, on the grill perhaps.