Thursday, September 10, 2009

Duck treats

So we've decided that duck confit is just something we need to keep doing on a regular basis...It's ridiculously easy, and, as I mentioned to my Omnivore, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Here's what we had for dinner the other night after I'd made the duck confit in the slow cooker (6 hours on low). My Omnivore came back from his Sunday afternoon gig and just inhaled when he stepped through the door.

From the pecans (toasted lightly) moving clockwise,
  • a jar of garlic cloves (also slow cooked in the duck fat for six hours)

  • a square jar of duck rillette (confit meat shredded and mixed with some of the duck jello left over from the slow cooking process)
  • a crock of French Onion Soup (onions caramelized for an hour and a half)
  • a little dish of Serra d'Estrella -- an unctuous fabulous sheep cheese from Portugal
  • a small dish of shredded pickled beets (homemade with rice wine vinegar courtesy of Martha Stewart)
  • some duck liver pate (homemade with Armagnac and truffle salt)
  • some chicken liver pate (also homemade with armagnac and truffle salt)
So I used to make a sort of fancy overworked chicken liver pate, a recipe out of Saveur Magazine. But once I had some chicken liver pate made by the chefs at Postrio, and I was told it was just onions, liver, salt and pepper. It was then that I started to understand that it was all about technique. Here's how I make it now.

Chicken (or Duck) Liver Pate
  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onions
  • 6 Tbsp cognac or Armagnac
  • 8 Tbsp butter, softened
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp truffle salt
Clean the livers very carefully. Rinse them in cold water and paper towel them dry. Pull off any sinewy parts, blood vessels, anything stringy, even if you have to smush the liver a bit to clean it off. I've learned that this is the key to getting a good texture in the final pate.

Heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onions over a medium heat until they're golden brown. Add the livers and stir, until they're cooked through. Put the livers into a small bowl to cool, and add the cognac to the pan. Ignite to burn off the alcohol, and then cook over medium heat until the liquid evaporates.

Combine the onions and pan juices along with the butter and liver in a bowl and using a stick blender, blend thoroughly until completely smooth and creamy. Add truffle salt (I like to put in as many chunks from the salt as I can fish out) and pepper to taste. Transfer to a small crock or bowl that's nice enough to serve in and refrigerate until it's firm.


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