Friday, March 14, 2008

Duck with Dates

I've known how to cook duck breasts for a long time--oddly, it was one of the first things I learned how to cook--but I only recently learned to cook duck legs. You can also make this with duck breasts: just fry them, slice them up, and add them to the sauce at the very end. The sauce is also good with pork chops. This is for two people.

  • 1/4 cup chopped, pitted dried dates (measure them by packing them lightly into a measuring cup after they're chopped--for me, it was eight dates)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs. dry red wine
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 duck legs
  • salt, pepper

Soak the dates in the wine and put this aside. Sprinkle the legs with salt and pepper and put them skin down on a skillet over medium heat. Once they start sizzling, turn the heat down all the way and cover the skillet. Leave them like this for an hour. Check them from time to time to make sure nothing is burning. If you check and see a lot of liquid other than the melted duck fat, take the cover off for a while to let it evaporate (this has only ever happened to me once). After an hour, flip the duck over and cook for another 45 minutes, covered. Then, remove the cover and flip the duck over one more time, and turn up the heat a tiny bit. Cook for five or ten minutes to crisp up the skin, making sure you don't burn it. Remove the duck.

Pour off most of the duck fat--there will be a huge amount in the pan, and it's worth saving. Cook the onions over medium heat in this pan, stirring once in a while, and adding salt and pepper. After about ten minutes, when they're soft, add the dates and wine and turn the heat up all the way. Scrape as much as you can off the bottom of the pan and let the wine reduce until the sauce doesn't taste too winey anymore. Serve with the duck.

The times for cooking the duck are really flexible; at least, I've never overcooked duck legs, and I've cooked them for a lot longer than I said to.


Rosanna said...

I'm so glad No Musing is back!

Toby said...

Thanks! I promise a really good spare ribs recipe soon--I just need to cook them one more time to hammer out some details.