Sunday, 23 February 2014

Duck crown and plum sauce

As I'm writing this I'm lying on the sofa enjoying a very lazy Sunday. Earlier today, we popped by to the garden centre to stock up on some planting trays and some bits and bobs to plan. Coriander, dill, oregano, garlic, potatoes and wild strawberries. And we already have quite a collection of seeds from earlier, we will be planting courgettes, cucumbers, tomatoes and I can't even remember all of it. I only have two more days of work to go, and then I have a week and half of holiday. Everyone keeps asking me what I'm doing for my holiday, whether I'm travelling anywhere. No, I'm not, and I am really looking forward to a holiday at home. I will do a lot of gardening, clear out some of the herbs I don't want and plant some more to replace the ones I will remove. And I'm looking forward to cooking a lot as well, I already have a cooking schedule for the holiday. And I will craft as well. So why on earth would I go away for a holiday when I finally have my dream home with so much to do. Yes, it might make me the most boring person on the planet, but I can't wait for the next 48 hours to go by and when Tuesday afternoon arrives, I am officially closed for business for the next week and a half!!

During my holiday, I am hoping to be able to stock up a lot of recipes to blog about. Sometimes when I plan a menu for the weekend, I force myself to make something new just so that I have something to blog about. But sometimes new recipes get born by mistake, such as the plum sauce in today's recipe. Duck is definitely worth trying, and it goes perfectly with a fruity sauce.

Duck crown with sweet and sour plum sauce (serves 2-3):
1 duck crown about 1kg
salt and pepper
olive oil for cooking

Plum sauce:
3-4 shallots
4-5 tbsp plum jam
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup water
2 tbsp gravy granules
black pepper

The howto:
Take the duck out of the fridge and into room temperature at least an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Season the duck inside and out with salt and pepper. Make incisions into the skin of the duck over the breasts, about six on each side. Heat a big frying pan, and cook the duck breast side down in oil for 2-4 minutes until the skin is nice and golden brown. Transfer the duck onto a roasting tray. The instructions on the duck said to cook 5 minutes per 100 g, but I ended up cooking my 1kg duck for only 40 minutes instead of 50 as I thought it started to look quite well done. When about 20 minutes remain on the cooking time for the duck, prepare the sauce.

Finely chop the shallots. In a saucepan, heat about a tbsp of oil and cook the shallots for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add the jam, vinegar, soy sauce, water and gravy granules. Stir and let cook for a few minutes. Taste, and add either more jam, vinegar or soy if you think the flavours aren't balanced. Let cook on low heat until desired consistency.

After cooking the duck, let it rest for 10-20 minutes before carving. Slice the breast meat onto a plate, and serve with the sauce. Duck should not be overcooked, it it best when the meat is still redish, rare to medium rare. I served the duck with this goat's cheese salad, but it would be perfect with some roast potatoes (possibly roasted in delicious goose or duck fat).

The verdict:

Duck makes a perfect change to a traditional Sunday roast. It is as easy to cook as chicken, but even tastier. I was a bit nervous about overcooking the duck but it turned out nice and juicy and perfectly pink. And I am especially proud of the sauce, I just tossed in some random stuff form my fridge and it turned out really good. It was both sweet and sour, just the way I like it, with a nice fruitiness from the plum which went really nicely with the duck. Although I guess part of the secret for the perfect sauce was the lovely plum jam, made by the Culinary Consultant's dad. I will definitely ask him for the recipe to make some from our plums next year. 

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