Paper Chef #11: Just Ducky
Ah, fall, my third favorite season.
- Nut Butter
Now, as to the first ingredient, I was apprehensive at first (I even commented on Stephen’s blog about it), but as I lay in bed that night I remembered that I had a large amount of duck bones hiding in the back of my freezer. YES! I thought. Finally a chance to put them to use!
The next day I set about making those (usually discarded) portions of our favorite water fowl into a rich stock.
(Note: the following is a rather wordy version of most stock recipes you can find in nearly any cook book.)
I began by removing the bones from the freezer (duh… and yes I weighed them: almost 10 lbs) and placing them in a roasting pan. I recommend that you try to break some of the larger bones before roasting. Next, I preheated my oven to 375 F. When the oven came to heat, the bones were just thawed enough for my purposes. I placed the pan in the oven and roasted the bones to a beautiful golden brown. Then I dropped them in my 16 quart stock pot and added enough water to cover. I then placed the roasting pan on one of my two still-functioning burners, and caramelized one pound of chopped onion, 1/2 pound of chopped carrot, and 1/2 pound of chopped celery (also known as 2 lbs of mirepoix to the French). I deglazed the pan with red wine (does it really matter that it was Carlo Rossi “Burgundy”? I didn’t think so) and added that to the pot as well. After bringing the whole thing to a boil, I then added a tablespoon of black peppercorns, two tablespoons of dried thyme leaves, five medium sized bay leaves, and a small handful of Italian parsley. I then reduced it to a very, VERY low simmer (about four bubbles a second), and allowed it to cook overnight.
The next day I strained the amazingly flavorful brown liquid and put it back to the heat. After a number of hours on the stove reducing, I was able to extract more than 80% of the water from the stock, leaving an immensely flavorful glace (that’s pronounced “gloss”).
Now the next thing was to make a “nut butter.” I didn’t want to just buy something; that seemed to me to be a cop out. (Though I’m not disparaging anyone who did. I just knew that I had the tool — i.e. my food processor — to do something homemade.) So, I chose pistachios, because I LOVE them.
My pistachio butter goes as follows:
- 1 cup unsalted pistachios
- 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon green crÃ¨me de menthe
Grind pistachios in the food processor to a sticky powder. Add confectioner’s sugar and process thoroughly. Add corn syrup, one tablespoon at a time, then the crÃ¨me de menthe, processing after each addition.
At this point I began to think of the best way to bring the remaining chosen ingredients and my two variations, together. The first thing that came to mind was Italian, and how better to incorporate these ingredients Italian style than in ravioli with a sauce?
To that end, I grabbed about four ounces of gorgonzola cheese and a couple of “starcrimson” pears. After peeling and coring the pears, I brushed them with melted butter, and placed them in a 400 F oven, allowing them to come to a nice golden brown.
Then I pureed them and combined then with the cheese, which I crumbled by hand. After that, I added two teaspoons of the glace, thus making the perfect filling for Fall.
Next was the dough. I took a page from The Pasta Bible by Christian Teubner, Silvio Rizzi, and Tan Lee Leng, and, again turning to my trusty food processor — this time with its “dough blade” — I spun up pasta dough. Then we broke out our pasta roller.
This was the point when we (Mrs. D and I) thought: “How can we make this dish even more fancy?” When we spotted the oregano growing in our yard, the idea came. We took our pasta dough and rolled it out almost as thin as filo, thus allowing one to see things through it. We then made creative patterns on the dough with oregano leaves and folded the dough back on itself, sealing the leaves between the two layers. This created a most flavorful, and at the same time decorative, ravioli, which we filled heartily, and cut using a tartlet pan, meaning that they were BIG.
Before cooking, I felt the need to attend to a sauce. And, there were still two ingredients to use to make this Paper Chef worthy! So, I took a tablespoon of my pistachio butter and a tablespoon of grated ginger and placed them in a saucepan along with 2/3 of a cup of white wine, whisked them all together and allowed them to reduce. When the mixture was reduced by about 3/4 I took it off the heat. When it stopped bubbling I added 4 tablespoons of butter, and swirled it vigorously to create an emulsion. Then I strained it, leaving a wonderful green-tinted sauce that went perfectly with the raviolis and left the oregano decorations in the pasta easy to see.
And now I present:
Ravioli dell’autunno with Sliced Anna Kiwi
After that I found that I still had large amounts of my ingredients left. So, I decided to plug on! The next thing I made was a soup. Rather than regale you with the process of this one, I’ll give you the recipe:
Duck Soup with Chicken, Pistachio Ginger Flavor
- 2 quarts water
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons duck glace
- 2/3 cup red quinoa
- 2 medium sized onions, chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, sliced VERY thin
- 2 teaspoons pistachio butter
- 1 pound cooked chicken meat
- 1 whole roasted pear
- Dissolve duck glace and pistachio butter in the water and bring to a simmer.
- In a separate pan, sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger until golden brown, and add to the broth.
- Bring broth back to a simmer and add quinoa.
- When quinoa is fully cooked, add chicken meat (make sure to break it into small pieces).
- Serve, garnish with slices of roasted pear and a dab of pistachio butter.
After the soup, I STILL had some of the ingredients left and another thought jumped to mind: Risotto!!
Here’s another recipe for you…
Nutty* Duck risotto with Ginger and Caramelized Pear
(*because Daffy is trademarked)
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 quart water
- 2 tablespoons duck glace (and 1 tsp per serving as garnish)
- 2 teaspoons pistachio butter
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 starcrimson pear
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces parmigiano reggiano cheese
- Dissolve duck glace and pistachio butter in the water, and bring to a simmer.
- Peel and core the pear, and in a 400 F oven, caramelize.
- Melt butter in a saucepan and add rice and ginger. Stir until all of the rice is coated.
- Add liquid to the rice one ladle at a time, stirring constantly between additions to make sure the liquid is absorbed each time.
- When all the liquid has been added and absorbed, add cheese and stir until it is melted.
- Serve, garnishing with a half teaspoon of duck glace, allowing it to melt on top. Then add a fan of caramelized pear slices.
Phew! That was fun! Good ingredients. What’s next? Bring it on!