Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Potted Duck

I made a lot of my own Christmas presents this year, so haven’t been able to write about any of them for fear of ruining the surprise... My biggest success was the Spiced Apple Chutney, people loved it... jars were empty in minutes... and I forgot to write down the recipe in all of the manic cooking stress, so will probably spend forever trying to recreate it. Handmade Cardamom Chocolate Truffles and White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies... both good, I will write about them very soon. Homemade Granola, Florentines, Potted Duck and Bread and Butter Pickle all became part of hampers, so my relaxing week off work before Christmas was more like a hyperactive Martha Stewart programme on fast forward...

This week has been a little less manic, Druridge Bay on Christmas Eve was a beautiful relaxing walk. We came home for warm potted duck on toast and a Negroni. It was a one of my favourite meals, as well as the Roast Woodcock preceded by Duck Livers and Hearts on Toast on Christmas Eve eve... Christmas day was lovely, the duck were cooked perfectly, no one missed the turkey and everyone gave and received lovely presents. As you can tell we've not really held back on the food... that's for next week...

This takes a little bit of time to make, but is totally worth it. In short you confit a duck, shred it, then pot it. You seal the meat with a little layer of the cooking fat which can then be kept for a few months in the fridge.

I cut one whole duck in half, it was a smallish wild mallard, which weighed about 1.5lbs. Then cover it in a light layer of salt and leave it in the fridge for half an hour, this draws out some of the water from the bird. Brush off the salt when it is ready and preheat your oven to 150C.

Put the duck in a pot that it fits in snugly and pour over 350g of warm duck or goose fat. You want the fat to cover the duck. Add a bay leaf and a little bunch of thyme. Cook in the oven for 1.5 hours or until the meat is falling apart, it will take longer if your duck is bigger.

When it is done take it out of the fat and leave to cool, you can keep the fat in a jar in the fridge and use again, reserve a bit to pour over the top of the finished duck. Shred the duck meat into pieces and add some fresh thyme sprigs and some pepper. Melt 25g of butter and add the juice of ¼ lemon and the zest of quarter of a lemon to it, add this all to the meat. I then pulsed the whole mixture in a food processor a couple of times, just to break it down slightly, not much, you can just leave it as it is if you have shredded it quite finely.

Pack the meat into a jar or small pots and pour over a thin layer of the melted fat, just enough to cover, this will keep for a few months in the fridge. These amounts will serve about 6 people, I made one jar for a hamper and one little pot for myself and TLI to share.

You can eat it cold on toast, but my favourite way is to warm it through slightly in a low oven, serve on toast, scattered with capers and a pile of rocket and watercress. After a cold walk on the beach I couldn’t have enjoyed it more...

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Happy cooking! Let me know if you make any of my recipes, send a picture, and let me know any of your own recipes and tips! Anna x