Duck with turnips
Canard braisé aux navets, or braised duck with turnip is a stapple of the French bourgeoise cuisine, rejuvenated and popularized by the immense Paul Bocuse … well, virtually popularized for most of us when it is about probably one of the most elitist restaurants ever!
But the canard aux navets’ pedigree also involves some other icons in their field, outside the smoky cooking universe, since two of the greatest and the most productive French novelists mentioned the dish, Victor Hugo himself (Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame…), in his non-completed Travel diary to the Pyrenees (Journal de voyage aux Pyrénées) and Alexandre Dumas père (you know, The Three Mousketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Twenty years after…), who even gave us the recipe. “Cook the ducks in this sauce; at mid-cooking, add the turnips and let simmer, regularly flipping the ducks over without crushing the turnips; at the end, skim the fat out of the stew and serve,” he wrote in his Grand cooking dictionary (Le Grand Dictionnaire de cuisine).
I more or less followed Dumas’s recipe with Bocuse’s Nouvelle cuisine twist. I seared the neck and the wings with a sweet onion, carrots, half a leek, turnip trims, flambéed the whole with Cognac, moistened with a generous quantity of white wine completed by water and let simmer for a minium one hour. After searing the duck on every side in a pot, and removing the renderedfat, I braised it in the broth, or rather poached it as the broth covered 50% of the duck, together with the round white and long purple turnips. I recuperated part of the cooking broth, added 2 tbsp. of honey and a splash of soy sauce, reduced it till obtaining a syrupy texture. I glazed the white turnips in this sauce and adjust it with balsamic and sherry vinegar…
Was it good? You bet!!! When a party of two eat the entirety of a 4 lbs. duck and literally lick the plate… The only thing left was the broth that will make a future risotto…
Post a Comment