Recipe Source: Clements, Carole & Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen. French. Anness Publishing, 2006 p. 141
So I've been trying for some time to lose weight and that has meant restricting certain parts of my diet. I've been trying to reduce the amount of meat in my life, for one thing. When I do eat meat I try to make sure that it's a lean protein - fish or turkey or something along those lines. Even red meat, such as beef or lamb, can be lean if you play your cards right. Of course, I've had absolutely no success whatsoever, and this is frustrating to me. Every once in a while, I admit it, I lose patience, let my frustration boil over and eat something that is firmly on the no list. I don't do this very often because frankly my system can't handle it all that often, but sometimes you just have to let go and indulge a little. It makes it easier to be good the rest of the time. One food that is very firmly on the "no" list is duck.
Duck just isn't healthy. I've never found a duck that hasn't been just full of fat. In fact, that's been an ongoing problem in our attempts to cook duck. Still, if I'm going to indulge I might as well go all the way, right? I decided a few weeks ago that we were going to enjoy some duck and that was all there was to it. I found a recipe that worked for me and I went with it. This one looked simple enough, but it needed a few additions. I added two small zucchini because I had them left over from some other adventure and I didn't want them to go to waste. Besides, adding vegetables to a dish is always good, right? I added some garlic. Rather, I added quite a lot of garlic. My bouquet garni was sage, rosemary and thyme. I'm very much aware that that is not a traditional bouquet garni but that's what I had on hand. I had it on hand because that's what I like. I also used vegetable broth because that's what I had on hand. Finally, I only used one duck. There are only three of us, and duck is plenty rich without overindulging.
The end result was a pretty tasty dish if I do say so myself. I certainly enjoyed it. My husband ate quite a bit of it and the daughter declined to share it with the dog, which is about as much as you can ask of a kid that age.
Duck with Olives (serves 6; approx. $6.02/serving)
1 very large duck, cut into pieces
1/2 pound pearl onions
14 garlic cloves, whole
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups red wine, plus extra for the cook if so desired
2 cups vegetable broth
2 small zucchini, sliced
about a handful of a combination of sage, rosemary and thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
1 cup green olives with pits
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- Large Dutch oven
- Put the duck pieces, skin side down, in the saute pan. Cook over medium heat until well browned, turning frequently. Work in batches if you need to - I did.
- Pour the fat off the pan and reserve.
- Return 1 tablespoon of the duck fat to the pan and reserve the rest for another use. (You'll see what I did with it tomorrow.)
- Add the onions and garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until browned. You should cook this in a covered pan but still stir frequently to prevent burning. I know it sounds fussy and it probably is but it is definitely worth it in the end.
- Sprinkle with the flour and cook uncovered another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the wine. Bring to a boil. (Be careful here!)
- Add the duck pieces, broth and your little bundle of herbs to the pot. Return to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer VERY gently about 40 minutes. Stir from time to time.
- Add the olives and zucchini to the pot. Continue cooking another 20 minutes. The duck should be very tender.
- Transfer the duck pieces, olives, garlic, onions and zucchini to a plate.
- Discard the bouquet garni, strain the cooking liquid and skim off as much fat as possible.
- Return the liquid to the pan. Bring to a boil and reduce by 1/3.
- Return the duck and accompaniments to the pot and heat through.