Tuesday, September 22
duck and porcini ragu with papardelle
To celebrate the coming for dinner of a Perth based blog comrade, laurajane from Loving the Question a life from a midwifes perspective and our first face to face meeting, someting delicious was a definite. I had two ducks in the freezer so i knew it was time to get creative with one of them. Both purchased for a song at $5 each, free ranged and in need of a new home. Mine. Im detecting a very strong theme in my culinary choices these days; whole small wild and game animals are making their way to our table and into our pantry with increasing frequency. Im starting to dream of shotguns and wide open spaces and a pig or two! Its worrying my husband.
So, never having jointed a whole duck before, i loaded up the trusty laptop, pulled up a Youtube clip and away i went, rewinding every so often to get it right. Easy peasy was the ducky. le viola! two legs, two wings, two breasts, one neck, lots of extra skin and an empty carcass. Not difficult at all, you just have to have a sharp knife and keep it close to the bone and cartilage. Usually the pluck is packaged up inside, but this ducky was pluck empty!
Jen from found in translation had suggested this recipe and the blog post was so funny and tickled my fancy that i had to have 'a bit of that'. The recipe called for duck breast but a ragu is always so nice, tender and rich that i chose to use the legs and one breast for this dish as confit duck legs arent really an option as theyre not my thing. But duck stock, rendered duck fat for treaty potatoes and a proscuitto style cured duck breast used up all that remained. Duck breast is happily hanging with the salami, stock in freezer and fat in glass in the fridge. More on that in another post. I opted to ditch the gnocci for a silkier lighter parpadelle and after trying a reconstituted saffron milk cap from my stash, porcini was definitely the way to go. My saffron milk caps dried well and have great flavour but reconstitute into inner sole so do only for flavour, not food. Any ideas why?
I picked up laurajane from the airport, foul weather had kept her in the plane on the tarmac for an hour after landing, poor thing. Welcome to Adelaide! When released, we headed straight for the Central market as my ducky morning didnt leave me any time for home made papardelle. Its weird how guilty i feel about buying things like pasta now. Pasta in bag, we headed home for an evening of conversation and some kid chaos.
The pasta was really really good and relatively simple. The ragu was rich, and sweet and surprisingly not too fatty. Expatriate kitchen was right. "Nothing with duck fat, red wine, porcini and butter could be too bad!" We followed up with a Jamie Oliver baked pear recipe in an orange walnut vanilla syrup served with toasted walnut marscapone. I took this pic mid prep in the afternoon, by desert time all camera activities were long forgotten. Not surprisingly i was totally cactus by half eleven after a full and interesting day. Blog meet ups are always so fun and laura jane was exactly as i had imagined her. Full of life and light and a very generous soul. This is the very special wild woman brooch she made for me, 'Marina'. Hand made and hand dyed felt in my favourite colours, beading and stitching. Isn't she a stunner? Dinner pales in comparison.