Saturday, August 08, 2009

Vinegar Duck + Salty Chocolate Pudding = Disgusting

Today Chef Lipford asked us to bring in a duck recipe. I grabbed a really simply one for Duck with chocolate: Anatra al Ciccolato off of the Food Network because we have all the ingredients on hand. I've copied and pasted the recipe at the end of this post. Chef broke us into new groups and at first the recipe seemed to be promising, the duck looked good, the mirepoix looked good and then...we added 3/4 quart of vinegar instead of 3/4 cup of vinegar. It was all downhill from there. In the attempts to fix the duck, I found that vinegar can be leached out of the duck by cooking it in a stock. I also found that after three hours of boiling a duck and trying to fix it, it becomes really dry and tough. In trying to fix the sauce, I ended up creating a salty chocolate pudding that was completely unpalatable. Better luck (or should I say duck) next time.

Here's the recipe:
1 (3-pound) duck, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon pine nuts, un-toasted
3 cloves
1 tablespoon golden raisins
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
Chopped parsley leaves, red pepper flakes, extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Heat a 12 to 14-inch saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the duck pieces, skin side down. The duck skin will provide more than enough fat for browning without adding excess oil. Cook, occasionally pouring excess fat off carefully, until golden brown, about 8 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in medium-sized saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and saute over medium heat until softened, about 12 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, pine nuts, cloves, raisins, bay leaves, flour and 1/2 cup vinegar and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add duck pieces and 1/4 cup vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and lower the heat. Braise over low heat until the sauce is thick, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the cloves.

Remove the duck to a large plate and spoon vegetables over.

Stir the chocolate and sugar into the cooking liquid. Serve sauce with the duck and garnish with chopped parsley, red pepper flakes and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

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