Time to cook seems to be the most sought after ingredient in most people's pantry. I balance the daily grind (yes, there is one, even at Camont!) by cooking once for twice- or at least making enough food for two meals from one recipe. Mostly I like having good food on hand ready to be transformed into a hot comforting 'instant' dish on my table. Thus the Parmentier de Canard becomes a staple lunch or supper dish here when friends arrive.
After writing about my own ducky experiences this month- 'A Flock of One's Own' for Saveur Magazine, I wanted to explore some other great local duck-based recipes. You can start with leftovers like I did (from a braised duck and mashed potatoes) or cook a Parmentier with a jar of confit, and some quickly made pommes de terre purée. Twenty minutes in prepping and another twenty-five in the oven and you still have time to make a salad. Pour a glass of wine. Sit down. Think of something you want to plant in the garden. All of this in the same time as it takes to watch a mediocre TV show on Netflix.
RECIPE: Parmentier de Canard
For 4 people
Time 45 Minutes- I begin with putting the potatoes on to cook. While they are cooking, I prepare the duck and set aside. And then return to the potatoes, make the purée and assemble the dish.
For the duck layer:
- Using approx 2 cups cooked duck: from the breast and wing meat from a braised duck or confited duck leg meat taken off the bone
- 1 tablespoon duck fat
- 1 onion or 2 shallots, peeled, chopped coarsely
- 1 cup pan juices from the braised duck or white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bay leaf and thyme
- A handful of mushrooms, sliced thinly.
For the Parmentier part- the purée
- 4 large potatoes- a floury baking potato like a russet or yukon gold
- 2-3 Bay leaves
- 1/2 onion peeled
- 1 cup milk or cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Nutmeg to taste
- Prepare the duck, by shredding or chopping the cooked meat. If you use confit de canard, make sure to adjust the season for the more salty meat.
- Melt the duck fat in a saute pan and add onions or shallots. Saute until they are soft.
- Add the meat and heat thoroughly and until the skin is slightly crispy.
- Add the pan juices and water and bring to a hard simmer, just starting to bubble.
- Mix the flour and butter together to make a beurre manié. Add half of the beurre manie to the bubbling pan and stir it until the sauce starts to thicken. Add more beurre manié if necessary.
- Remove from heat.
- Next prepare the potatoes by cooking peeled cubed potatoes in salted water, add the bay leaves and onion. When cooked thoroughly (not just for texture but for taste) drain, remove bay leaves and onion.
- Break up the potatoes with a fork adding milk and butter, and mix. You can make as smooth as you like or leave the fork-smashed chunks. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Assemble in an ovenproof gratin pan. Butter the gratin pan or use duck fat and arrange the mushroom slices on the bottom.
- Place the duck and sauce on top of the mushrooms and then spoon the potato puree over the top. I made quenelles (an egg-shaped spoonful made with two tablespoons) but you can make an even layer and rough up the surface with a fork. generously sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
- Bake in a hot oven 200’C/ 400’F for 25’ min until golden brown on the surface.
- Serve warm with a green salad or other cooked garlicky greens.