My husband loves duck. Loves it. He has stories of the ducks he has shot and how he cooked them. The only thing he’ll hunt are birds, and (luckily) he hasn’t been hunting since I met him. I have a thing about hunting. Nevertheless, he still loves it, no matter where it comes from. On Valentine’s Day, he saw The Barefoot Contessa during his lunch break roasting a duck. As much as he loves ducks (and duck meat), I love Ina Garten. Every time I watch The Barefoot Contessa, I get jealous. She has so many wonderful stores in her community, with such wonderful ingredients. Her friends are so beautiful, and she has such grace and you can just tell she is so sweet! And, she’s a smart cookie. I love a smart woman making it by doing what she loves.
I have to stop here to say that I am not a Valentine’s Day freak. I used to dress in all black to commemorate the occasion, but because it is what I usually wore (and still do), it wasn’t really a protest. And looking back, I was just bitter because I didn’t have someone when others did. Silly me. I do really hate the feeling that you should buy cards, flowers, chocolate, wine, and a big dinner just because some Romans used to flog women with dead animal skins. I know I’m appreciated, and so does my husband, almost every day.
So, because we went to the grocery store on Valentine’s night, W decided he’d make Ina’s roast duck. I always love when he cooks because then I can just sit back and have some wine or, in this case, some beer, and wait to be served. Ahhh.
Kroger has this awesome “Make Your Own 6 Pack,” and so that’s exactly what we did. Three beers a piece on a “school night” isn’t bad, and I was able to try some new beers. My choices were the Smithwick’s, Hoegaarden, and Redbridge. Smithwick’s was great! Definitely tastier than your average ale, at least out of the below 5% you can get in Mississippi. Hoegaarden is an old favorite. Redbridge is a gluten-free sorghum beer made by Budweiser. I liked it. Definitely will try it again. I also started reading about the benefits of a gluten-free diet. It seems like a trendy thing right now for non-celiacs, like chipotle or applewood-smoked bacon. Sounds like a good thing to do, but not for me at the moment. The other three were hubby’s, who likes heavier beers.
We started with an appetizer of prosciutto from the Farmer’s Market and some Humboldt Fog cheese. I used to drive to Mantia’s in Memphis to get this cheese, and I’m happy to say that it is available at the Farmer’s Market on Old Highway 7 and Kroger now! It is so good – creamy on the outside and crumbly on the inside. Tangy and awesome. I served it on a kitschy little tray from the 70s. I think my mom got it for a wedding present. She gave it and her avocado green fondue pot to me when I moved out of her house for law school.
To start, W began some creamed potatoes. Just boil some cubed potatoes and blend in cream (or milk), butter, salt, and pepper. Add some horseradish or roasted garlic for some fun if you like.
Next, he boiled a duck in chicken stock for 45 minutes. We had to break out the crawfish pot for the job since none of our regular pots were big enough. And he used two burners…
Salt and pepper the little guy and put in the oven at 500! degrees F for 30 minutes. Take him out and let him rest while you make a gravy if desired.
This part was our improvisation. We got a little duck fat from the remaining cooking liquid and sauteed some mushrooms. Then W made a gravy from the duck fat, flour, and added the mushrooms back in.
Put it all together, and you’ve got a great dinner! And, Happy Valentine’s Day (she said begrudgingly).