Saturday, June 23, 2012

The simplicity of a roasted duck

When someone asks me, “What’s Pablo having today?”, and I answer, “Duck”, I immediately get that “how fancy, how French” vibe… Somehow, duck sounds fancy, something you only have in a restaurant. Yet, it can be as simple to cook as a roasted chicken, and doesn’t cost a lot more. And duck meat is wonderfully flavorful.


I was born in Toulouse, and Southwestern France will always stay in my heart as the place where I learned the true meaning of the word “gastronomy”. It’s a place full of smells: it’s where I smelled a tomato on the vine for the first time.  Where the melons and peaches at the market in summer are huge and as sweet as can be. It is of course the home of the truffle, my passion and obsession. And a place where duck is a staple.

So, inspired by the wonderful dishes from the southwest region of France (cassoulets, etc), I decided to combine roasted duck with white cannellini beans and roasted rosemary tomatoes.

Variety being a key component to my strategy with Pablo, I started him on duck (among the other meats: beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, veal) around 8 months. At first, I bought duck breast, which I steamed and mixed with vegetables (it goes well with turnip). This is a bit more involved, but for an ultra-simplified version, see the end of the recipe.

Duck with white beans and roasted tomatoes

Age : 8-10 months.

Health benefits: Duck meat is very high in iron. And most of its fat, which is “good” fat anyway, aka polyunsaturated, is in the skin or just below, easily removed from the meat.

1 duck
1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

2 cloves of garlic

3 tbsp of rosemary olive oil

1/2 can organic cannellini beans, rinsed*
(*You could make the beans from scratch, but I must admit, being busy as moms get, when I found canned organic cannellini beans with bpa free lining, I jumped on them!)

12 cherry tomatoes.

The duck:

Preheat the oven at 400°

Brown the duck with the butter and olive oil on all sides in a large dutch oven.

Place the duck breast-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add ¼ cup of water.

Place the uncovered dutch oven in the oven and roast for about 45 mn, basting every 15-20 minutes.

The tomatoes:

Put some fresh rosemary and the garlic cloves in the olive oil, let it marinate for 20 minutes (I also make rosemary garlic olive oil by leaving a few cloves of garlic and some fresh rosemary in an olive oil bottle, so it’s always handy.)

Plunge the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds, to peel them easily.

Cut them in half and place them in an oven-safe platter. Drizzle some rosemary olive oil (with the garlic cloves) over the tomatoes. Roast them at 425° for about 10 minutes.

The mix (to make 4 x 2 oz portions):

Put about 3 oz of roasted duck breast (skin removed), ½ can of cannellini beans (rinsed in cold water), the roasted tomatoes (with the garlic cloves) in the food processor and mix to desired consistency.

Old toddler option: You can serve the duck breast (cut-up), the beans and the roasted tomatoes on one plate.

Ultra easy option: The slightly “fancy” option above can be shortened by simply purchasing duck breast. Simply steam 3 oz of duck breast with the tomatoes and ½ garlic clove for about 15 mn. Add the cannellini beans, perhaps some fresh thyme, and mix in the food processor.

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