Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Holidays Unwrapped Part Two: Duck!

Duck pasta

Our first Christmas together (in the "just-the-two-of-us" sense) was, in a word, quiet. With no family commitments and few friends to distract us, it was just us, the couch, a few good books and The Trip.

Our numbers meant a traditional holiday dinner was just not practical; besides, our feelings on turkey et al have been already noted. Still, we found the spirit of the season in the rich depths of a dinner of duck, slow cooked in a heady broth of red wine, sweet onions and tomato. As the last hours of the day slipped by, we finished with an indulgent sticky toffee pudding crowned with a hazelnut caramel sauce.

Slow cooked duck pastaServes 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 250g duck legs, skin removed
1 pound shallots, peeled and halved
1 clove garlic, minced
2/3 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 325F. In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown duck legs in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside.

Add shallots to pot and cook until just starting to brown, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add wine, stock, tomato paste, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Return duck to pot, cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until duck comes away from the bone easily.

Remove legs from pot and strip meat off the bone with a fork. Discard bones and return meat to the pot and simmer on the stovetop until warmed through and sauce is thickened to your desired consistency.

Meanwhile, cook 400 grams of rigatone or pappardelle in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and toss with duck sauce and serve.

rum cake

p.s: Forgive the poor quality photo up top, but that's what you get when you try and take a picture by candlelight.

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