Time for a duck recipe.
But first I must share with you a most unfortunate incident.
Half way through chopping some fresh sage, I took a considerable slice out of my finger. As I looked down to see part of my finger on the chopping board, I started to feel very nauseous and tired. Luckily I managed to remain conscious. Perhaps rather recklessly, home alone, I carried on cooking for ten minutes.
Browning duck legs with one hand isn’t ideal though.
As the adrenaline faded, the pain became unbearable.
I called it quits and pondered my options.
Without going into too much detail, the amount of blood still being lost an hour later prompted me to make my way to accident and emergency, complete with piece of finger in a bag of ice (y’know, just incase they need to glue it back on…)
A wonderful family friend took me to hospital where I was swiftly bandaged up and sent back home.
What’s that saying?
The show must go on.
So the thinking behind this one was that everybody likes duck, right? And everyone likes peanuts, right? (Unless you’re allergic obviously…)
After a few different approaches, I decided on slow cooked duck in port, and fresh pasta tossed with peanuts and mushrooms.
Your shopping list:
2 duck legs, half a bag of shallots, 3 sticks of celery
2 bay leaves, fresh sage, juice of half an orange
100ml of ruby port, chicken stock
fresh pasta (of your choice), 1 red onion, shiitake mushrooms
fresh parsley and chives, crushed unsalted peanuts, 1 garlic clove
For the duck legs, start off by turning your oven to 175 degrees celsius. Chop up your celery and shallots. Leave them to one side. Drizzle the legs with oil and rub well with salt and black pepper.
Heat some oil on high in an oven proof dish and brown both legs well for 6 minutes. Remove the legs and turn heat to medium and add the vegetable. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the sage and bay leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Pour in the port and reduce on medium-high for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock cube, the orange juice, and half a cup of boiling water.
When it’s simmering, re add the duck legs, season, and cook for a further 4 minutes.
Place in the oven and reduce temperature to 125 degrees celsius.
Leave it to slow cook for 3-4 hours.
When the time comes, check on the duck. Then you can start the pasta.
Start by dicing your red onion as finely as possible. Slice your mushrooms into thirds. Have your herbs finely chopped and ready to go.
Heat some oil on high in a frying pan or wok. Add a big handful of the peanuts and crush the garlic clove into the pan. Cook for 3 minutes until the nuts start to turn golden brown. Turn heat to low and add the mushrooms.
Add your fresh pasta to a large pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
In the meantime, add the onion and a handful of the parsley to your other pan. Cook on medium-low.
Strain your pasta. Add to the frying pan with the chives.
Season well, add a splash of olive oil, and cook on high for one minute.
Serve immediately with the tender duck leg and gravy from its dish, in which ever way you fancy. The duck should just fall away from the bone.