Monday, August 22, 2011

Roast duck, cumquats and mirepoix

We used to keep ducks here on our block, Muscovies which make the best eating(at least if you don't have access to the great south-western French breeds), but though they were prolific and gave us many delicious dinners and confits and my all-time favourite, duck prosciutto(duck breast dry-salted and air-dried, with as delicious pepper-studded rind) we(or rather David, whose province it was) got fed up of the huge amount of work involved. Plus we were 'ducked-out' in terms of dinners—when you have to get through fourteen ducks in a row, you do tend to get rather jaded!
But it's been years now since we had any ducks at home and though we did eat the odd duck breast back in Paris last year, duck dinners are pretty rare these days on our table, given duck is a pretty expensive meat to buy here, but also the commercial variety available is nowhere near as meaty as French ducks, so you get much less for your money. So when we spotted a reduced-price duck in the supermarket the other day, we were delighted, and the roast duck dinner David made was a positive treat!
He re-invented the classic duck with oranges to make it duck with cumquats(from our little hothouse tree). He put half a dozen cumquats in the duck while it was roasting, and then made a 'mirepoix' for it, with chopped up carrots, onions and herbs, very finely cut and cooked in butter and a little wine and water, salt and pepper, then mashed. This was served alongside the duck, and the cumquats also ladled out and served with the meat. Roast potatoes, pumpkin and steamed brussels sprouts, all from the garden, completed a magnificent main course, which went down well with some good white wine.
(Entree incidentally was a salad of shaved Bruny Island 'Tommy' cheese walnuts and lettuce, dessert a divine passionfruit tart whose recipe came from a Neil Perry column in the SMH's Good Weekend magazine.)

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