October 7, 2008

Results - Slow-Cooked Duck with Braised Red Cabbage and Hazelnuts

And now for the results, drum roll please........... ta dah!

I am very pleased with myself. On the weekend I attempted the slow-cooked duck, and the results were good! Visually, the meal was impressive, on a sensory level, smell = awesome and taste = good but not great. Mainly because my jus was a little salty.

But now to break it down. How did I find the experience and any hints or pointers I can add?
Firstly, the duck fat. The recipe called for 850 grams of duck fat, my first reaction was, where the hell am I going to find a duck fat enough to yield that much fat. Then I did a bit of searching on the net. You can buy "fresh" duck fat from a local poultry seller and render your own clarified duck fat, or you can buy duck fat already in a rendered form. I was hoping to buy my own fresh fat so I could do my own rendering; it seemed like a fun thing to do. And besides I had heard that already rendered duck fat was fairly expensive. So I set off to find my own little piece of white gold. I visited so many shops, and every time I asked the question, “do you have any duck fat?”, I got the same quizzical look. It was as if I was asking for some unknown material in a foreign language no less.

In the end I went to a poultry shop at Queen Victoria Market that sells large quantities of duck meat. When I asked for fresh duck fat, I was handed already clarified duck fat. I was a little disappointed. When I asked the sales person how much it was, I was expecting to hear an ungodly price, but in the end it was $6 for 220grams. Not bad. Since I was only going to make a half portion (I needed 425 grams), it seemed reasonable.

I still have a very strong desire to render my own fat. Some people have a desire to go for long walks, help people in need, me? to melt fat! I don’t think I'm normal. So I’m not going to give up on my quest of finding some fresh fat. I just think I need to look a little harder.

Now, the jus. Like I said earlier, it was a little salty for my liking, but I know exactly where Iwent wrong. I did not use salt free stock, I used a salt reduced stock. So after reducing, it was a little salty. Not intolerable, I just think it would have been better with less salt. I cooked the jus at 10pm at night, and I must say the smell from it was intoxicating. It filled my house and made all of us hungry. I was ready to forget about it all and just eat it with some fresh bread like a soup, but my better judgement stepped in. I did however keep the shallots after straining and made the most awesome spinach and cheese omelette in the morning. The spice and sweetness from the shallots set it off perfectly.

The braised cabbage was a little too acidic. With the duck I think the acidity was a little over powering. Some people enjoy that sharp flavour, but I found it a little too in your face. If I was to make it again I would use a little less red wine vinegar. But, on the next night we had some of the left over cabbage with continental sausages, and the acidity was great! They went together perfectly. I just think the duck flavour might have been a bit too subtle for the cabbage.

Overall, the meal was great. It is definitely on my 'cook again' list. Well done Massimo!


Sam said...

Looks great, I will try this tonight!

Maria said...

Let me know how you go. I'd be interested to know if you find the cabbage a bit too acidic as well.