Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Duck Soup

This trundling off to a workshop every day this week is messing my summer routine up.  That's not to say that it's not a very good workshop.  We're learning how to build up our school community through a shared vision, which is pretty cool.  However, after sitting all day in a large room with other teachers from my school (as well as the upper levels of our district's administration), developing our school's mission, it's hard to let go of it when I get home.  Getting to sleep at night is a problem.

Anyway, when I got home yesterday, I did manage to finish a duck soup I actually started last Friday by taking our last duck out of the freezer in the garage.  As it was almost an 8 pound drake, it took three days for it to defrost in the fridge!  The recipe, Herb-Brined Duck Breast was from The French Farmhouse Cookbook, by Susan Loomis.  She has a number of duck recipes, but I chose this one because it included brining the duck in a salt/herb mixture overnight and then slowly stewing it in an intense flavored herb broth. The recipe also includes a side dish of lentils, which I also prepared.

This is what the duck (which I'd quartered before brining) looked like when I got it in the pot with the broth mixture.  The herbs and vegetables included carrots, leeks, shallots, onion (with cloves stuck in it!), fresh thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and parsley.  I set it on low heat to simmer for two hours and went out to water the garden and tie up my blackberry vines.  Every time I came in the house to check on the soup, the aroma from that soup with all those herbs just about had me swooning.

When Bruce came home, it was time to take the duck quarters out of the broth, dry them off and quickly fry them in butter/olive oil. This isn't a recipe for cooks who are faint of heart or eaters who are on a strict diet.  When the lentil's had been pureed and the rich, brown duck breast was served on top, it was a meal fit for royalty.  No pictures of this, though -- we were eating too quickly.

I will say that this is the best duck (by far) I've ever eaten. 

Now it's off to my workshop -- today's the halfway mark.  I'm glad of that.

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