Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ducking around the pond 4x (vyhýbal kolem rybníka 4x)

Duck (kachna) and goose (husa) are always delightful additions to any table, although they require special considerations due to the high fat content.  Traditional Czech cuisine often includes goose (see earlier posts).  We purchased a duck (kachna) the other day and, in traditional style, tried to see how many dishes we could make out of it:  total count 4!

First, Roast Duck. We roasted it with garlic and marjoram (česnekem a majoránkou), two traditional seasonings here. It was delicious, of course but due to the richness one can only eat so much!

So, we then saved all of the meat off the bones (for the next 3 recipes) and made a duck stock out of the rest (for 2 out of the next 3 recipes). One could have saved the fat and made a duck confit for later (we didn't)....

Second, the next thing we thought of cooking with the same duck was Stir-fryed Duck with Carrot Flowers.  First, heat up your wok with a few tablespoons of sesame oil, very thinly slices garlic (two cloves) and thinly sliced fresh ginger (one thumb's worth). Next add in ~1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (you pick which type!), sliced, are added in. Sear them; then set aside to avoid overcooking.  Peel three large carrots. Then cut three equally-spaced pie-shaped wedges, lengthwise, in each carrot (eat the fresh wedges while cooking...don't throw them away!). Slice the carrots horizontally to make three-petaled flowers (see below). Stir-fry these in the hot oil until they are al dente. Set aside with the cooked mushrooms. Then add in shredded pieces of duck (~1/3 of the duck meat you got off from the bones) to stir-fry quickly. Add along with these ~1/2 bunch of scallions which have been diced into 1/2" pieces. Now add in 4 tablespoons aged Balsamic vinegar, 4 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1/4 cup of honey. Mix well. Add in remaining, cook ingredients just to reheat quickly.  Serve over a hot bed of steamed rice (Jasmine is the best)!  We served this with fresh peas on the side. Put out the chop sticks. Enjoy!

Third, Lemon Duck Soup.  For the third trip ducking around the pond, it was a rainy day that inspired us to make this soup! It all started of thinking about the Greek Lemon Soups we all love (Avgolemono) and the euphoric, acidic lemon/egg taste those soups have.  So, we thought, why not do the same thing with duck? Here's what we did....all made up as we went. 
Take 4 cups of Duck Stock (from Round 1 after roasting the duck....), add in zest and juice from two fresh lemons. Zest in one thumb of peeled, fresh ginger. Crush two cloves of garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a slow, roiling boil. In a bowl, mix three eggs together with a whisk. Take the whisk and stir the soup stock with it while slowly drizzling in the whisked eggs. Cook 1 minute. Ladle up and eat like royalty!  Serve with hot bread or crackers and butter. Zesty!


Fourth, Curried Duck Soup.  For our last trip ducking around the pond (we had just a bit of duck and stock left....) another rainy day came along (perfect for ducks) and thought of soup again. This time, an Asian flair came to mind....why not curry?  So, we took 4 cups of Duck Stock (all that remained), added in 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 cup of rice (Jasmine again) and slowly let it simmer until the rice was almost cooked. Then we added in 1/2 bunch of scallions, diced finely; peeled, slivered carrots (2); 1 teaspoon curry (Czech, of course!), and 1 small can of coconut milk.  Warm it all through until it simmers and the rice is perfectly done.  Serve again with fresh bread or crackers, as you prefer. Fantastic!

So there you have it....four meals out of one small duck. I've always thought in the past that duck had so little meat on it, compared with chicken or turkey, but we made this stretch into some of the tastiest duck we've ever thought of or had...  Try it!

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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