Posts Tagged ‘magret du canard’

Lesson 22 Duck breast pommes annaThere are so many reasons to love duck, especially duck breast or magret du canard.  I love the slightly tangy flavor of the meat, the juiciness of a rose pink breast and the crunch of crispy cooked skin.   I am more apt to cook a duck breast or confit duck legs than roast a whole duck, perhaps for me the parts are better than the sum.

The duck breast is trimmed of excess fat and sinew and then the skin is scored with a harlequin pattern.  The breast is seasoned on both sides and placed fat side down in a cold pan onto the med heat.  The skin should be golden and crisp, which will take around 10 min, then the breast is flipped onto the meat side.  Continue to cook on the stove top until the internal temperature reaches 52-53C, then remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before slicing.  So simple you will need to prepare all your other elements before you begin cooking the duck!

The duck is served with a puree of cumin spiced carrots, which was a surprise.  Usually carrots are only included as an aromatic in most of our recipes to heighten the flavor of sauces, so once their flavor is extracted they are tossed away.   For this preparation the carrots are simply cooked in salted water, pureed with a little cream and cumin.  Just delicious!  This is an easy accompaniment that could make any weeknight meal more special.

This recipe included a new potato preparation, Pommes Anna. Anna potatoes are a classic French dish of sliced, layered potatoes cooked in a very large amount of melted butter.   For our method we peeled the potatoes then used a metal form to cut them into even rounds.  The rounds were then sliced thinly using a mandolin.   To create small a galette, we used a bilini pan to make single serving size.  There are many sizes the galette can be made, the main decision is the size of the pan or form you decide to use.

The galette is cooked on the stove top until the bottom is crispy, then gently – very gently flipped over, to brown the presentation side.  If you try too soon or the top layer is not stuck together with enough butter it could fall apart, so don’t rush or skimp on the butter.  That’s so French – don’t you think?

Continue for Pommes Anna recipe

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The next few lessons are centered on cuisine from Bordeaux. I think most people have heard of Bordeaux wine and perhaps even had a sip or two. This great wine is a blend of 5 varietals of grapes, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. There are two rivers that run through the region, the Garonne and the Gironde. The open waters of the Bay of Biscay border the appellation of Bordeaux.

In Bordeaux, wines are classified as either left or right bank wines, meaning the grapes grew on one side or the other of the Gironde. On the north bank or left bank we find the appellations of Graves, Pessac Leognan, Haut Medoc, St. Julian and Paulliac. On the right bank are the regions of Pomerol and St. Emillion (the one gorgeous village I have been). There is also a small appellation in the middle of the two rivers called “Entre deux mers” or between two oceans.

All these appellations are well known for luscious red wines so it’s only fitting that they would bless us with some truly gourmet cuisine. Our first taste of Bordeaux is one of my favorite dishes to cook, Magret du Canard avec Bordelaise Sauce.

I promised my father I would provide clear instructions on cooking a duck breast, Magret du canard, as he is keen to try it out. So get out your sauté pans and let’s get cooking!


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It was a bit of luck that brought me to the english bookstore in Amsterdam on Saturday afternoon.  The weather was unsettled so I refused to ride my bike into the city and risk getting soaked while doing our errands therefore I insisted on taking the tram. We had a number of places to go and had plotted out a route that would allow us not to backtrack up and down the tram lines.  It was great in theory, until I realized I forgot the city map. Fortunately our route would take us by a favourite haunt, the ABC Bookstore.

I zipped into the store to pick up another trusty city map for a mere 2 euro and scanned the magazine shelf.  I was on my way to the cash register when I spotted it – Menus for Chez Panisse.   I was drawn to the title and the cover so I picked up the book and began to leaf through.  It was love at first sight.  I tried to put the book down and convince myself I didn’t need it.  In fact, I didn’t need it but I wanted it so I bought it – or rather C bought it for me.

Chez Panisse opened in 1971 by Alice Waters in Berkeley California is legendary.  Alice Waters has changed the face of food through her unique restaurant, advocacy for local products/ producers and her Edible Garden program.   She has surrounded herself with many creative people over the course of the 40 year journey including David Lebowitz, who use to work at the restaurant and recently attended the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Party in August 2011.  Today however, I want to share with you the work of an artist, creative contributor and sometimes cook at Chez Panisse, Patricia Curtan.

The book published this year, 2011, is simply a compilation of menus dating from as far back as 1972 through to 2009.  It follows the development of the restaurant, friendships, birthdays, romances and momentous occasions through the recording of the event’s menu.  It is endearing to see the wit and charm in these individually letter pressed menus embellished with the beautifully simple drawings of seasonal fruits, florals and vegetables.   How wonderful to be the recipient of such a menu on your arrival to Chez Panisse and know that the care taken to present the menu on paper will be followed by courses of delicious food prepared with much love and care.

On this Canadian Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful there are people who can slow down and enjoy both art and food.  In this spirit I share my menu – sorry I have no talent for drawing so I refer you to page 82 with its gorgeous variegated leaves in fall colours.

Menu for “C”

Foie Gras on Buttered Toasts with Sauterne Jelly

Pairing: Champagne

Magret du Canard with Truffled Celeriac Puree and Carmelized Savoy Cabbage 

Pairing: Vieux Telegraph Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Pumpkin Pie with freshly whipped cream 

Pairing:  Great conversation with friends

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