Magret on Garlic Mash and Pak Choy with
a Three Citrus Jus
recipe comes from Chef Jim Fisher who now runs
cooking holidays in the Dordogne.
you would like to know more about Jim and how he gained
his love of cooking why not have a look at his biography
find out more about the cooking holidays in France at
Jim's cooking school in the Dordogne you will need to
visit his web site <click
duck, in culinary terms at least, seems to be very
misunderstood, and thus a sadly underrated bird. Not
all that surprising I suppose since many people of a
certain generation - and here I include myself - were
introduced to it back in the 1970s, a - some would say
- misguided epoch when no self-respecting restaurant
menu would be seen without the ubiquitous 'Duck à
l'Orange'. This invariably over-cooked, fat-oozing old
mallard coated in a sticky over-sweet marmalade-like
sauce simply was duck for many people.
having survived that era's 'exciting' flavour experiments
(and even more lurid fashions) here we are, snugly making
ourselves at home in a new whiter-than-white millennium,
looking back on those heady days with fond memories,
just 'knowing' we can still fit into that brown paisley
drip-dry shirt and pair of purple brushed cotton 'Lionels'
- damn, if only I could find them . . . !
I digress. Here in the Dordogne the duck is truly a
prince of birds (it would be king but for the rather
more stately - and expensive - goose). There is not
a single restaurant around these parts that would be
seen dead without duck on its menu in one form or other,
often deliciously served with Pommes Sarladaises (potatoes
fried in duck or goose fat) or foie de canard (engorged
duck liver). But, however mouth-watering and extravagant
these famous recipes are, duck does sometimes need a
little bit of an acerbic hitch-up to help people cope
with its inherent richness.
this, of course, is what those 70s chefs were trying
to do by embracing so totally a dish like duck a l'Orange,
the hope being that the sauce would do the job. However,
these days I think a slightly lighter touch is needed
for our rather more perspicacious palates.
to replace that cloying orange sauce: a lighter and
slightly more complex jus using a trio of citrus fruits;
oranges, lemons and limes (lime, by the way, has to
be one of the most under used of the citrus fruits,
though it possesses an incredibly piquant and sensuous
aroma - use it in curries, sorbets, for curing raw fish
as in ceviche, Thai dishes, lime tart, sorbet . . .
the list is endless).
magret, skin on
300 ml (10 fl oz.) chicken stock
1 glass dry white wine
1 tsp. soft brown sugar
50 gr (2 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 1cm (1/2 in.)
1 - 1½ kg (2 - 3 lbs.) potatoes
100 gr (3 - 4 oz.) unsalted butter
6 un-peeled garlic cloves
freshly ground black pepper
12 leaves pak choy
dark soy sauce
the grated zest, and juice of:
the juice and grated zest of the fruit in a saucepan
along with the chicken stock, wine and sugar, then
simmer for twenty minutes or so, or until reduced
by about two thirds.
from the heat, whisk in the butter until the sauce
gains a silky gloss, then season with sea salt.
the potatoes and cut them into even-sized chunks.
Bring to the boil in plenty of salted water, along
with the un-peeled cloves of garlic. Simmer gently
until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the
garlic which, at this point, will be soft and squidgy.
the potatoes well, then squeeze in the garlic from
their skins, like toothpaste. Stir in the butter,
and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
score the skin of each duck breast in a lattice pattern,
and sprinkle each side generously with sea salt and
freshly ground black pepper. Bring a frying pan to
a medium-high heat and smear with a little oil. Place
the breasts flesh-side down in the pan and fry for
one minute only, then flip them over and continue
to cook for about 6 - 8 minutes, by which time the
skin will be golden brown and crisp, and the pan will
have filled with a veritable lake of duck fat.
the breasts to a baking tray, then cover with foil
and as many tea towels as you can spare, then leave
them alone for at least ten minutes - this resting
is essential as it allows the cooking process to finish
and the meat to relax.
the pak choy under running water and shake dry. Add
a little olive oil to the pan and throw in the pak
choy, stir-frying it for a minute or so until just
wilted. Dress with some dark soy sauce.
each breast into 5 or 6 slices and serve fanned out
on top of a good dollop of garlic mash topped with
the pak choy, then pour the sauce around.
1970s? Eat your heart out!