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13-04-2013, 06:53
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http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/duck-final.jpg?w=483&h=353 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/duck-final.jpg)Duck: a bird I love, yet find incredibly difficult to cook. I can’t count the amount of Ducks I’ve roasted, only to find that instead of crispy skin and succulent, moreish meat within, i’ve ended up with dry, tasteless fowl. I don’t buy whole ducks anymore. They scare me.Meanwhile, I have been able to nail fool-proof (and the above statement should qualify me as a duck-fool) breasts, and when put with a beer with high fruitiness such as Madame Rose, it becomes a bit of a wonder. Basically, it’s about heat.
Take your breasts and score heavily on the skin side. Rub with Salt, and a little five-spice powder (which normally contains Star Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Pepper and Fennel) and get a heavy frying pan hot. Very hot. Don’t put any oil in, and when you’re happy with the heat, lay the breasts in, skin side down.
http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/duck-final-2.jpg?w=158&h=210 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/duck-final-2.jpg)Now, keep an eye on them. The amount of fat that comes off them is staggering. After 90 seconds or so, drain the fat out of the pan (careful!) and return the breasts. Do this a couple of times until there’s a minimum of fat. Turn the breast once, and colour the flesh side. Your skin should be nice and brown, crispy yet succulent underneath. When the breast is firm to the touch, and to your liking, take them out and rest them. All in all, you’re looking at about 6-7 minutes cooking time for a medium-sized breast.
Whilst they are resting (and it’s massively important you do rest them; don’t even think about skipping that part), make a little pouring liquor by gently heating dark soy sauce, a little Madame Rose, a pinch of brown sugar, one minced Garlic clove and little rice-wine vinegar. Lob a fresh Star Anise in there, and when the liquor has thickened ever-so-slightly, you’re done.
Slice the duck, pour on the sauce, pour your beer, and serve with noodles or rice, accompanied with a little chopped Coriander and Spring Onion. The meat should be crispy-skinned and seductively pink in the middle, the sauce sweet and savoury.
http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/img_3426.jpg?w=224&h=300 (http://goodfoodgoodbeer.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/img_3426.jpg)Beer-wise, Madame Rose (http://www.gooseisland.com/pages/madame_rose/142.php) (7.1%abv) isn’t massively complex on its own; plenty of acid, a hint of funk, and an underlying cherry note that’s more akin to cherry-skin than juice – bitter and crisp. Pair it with the sweet, smoky flavours in the duck and sauce here, though, and that magic thing happens where all of a sudden everything becomes tastier; cutting through the richness and pairing perfectly.
If you don’t want to be perhaps as obvious as the duck-and-cherry combo, I would probably experiment with a robust IPA from the likes of The Kernel (http://thekernelbrewery.com/) or Magic Rock (http://www.magicrockbrewing.com/our-beers/) – or even one of Wild Beer Co’s (http://wildbeerco.com/) bitter and woody Saisons.

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