Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Pigs Foot and Other Courses
Warning - this post will not be to everyones taste.

Well, my friend K and I finally pulled it together; A dinner based on Le Pied du Conchon. It all started with a phone call.

K - "I got it. Got it at a really good price."

Me - " Really? But is it enough?"

K - "Its fuckin' huge, more than enough."

Me - "OK, who are we gonna invite"

K - "Its gotta be the right kinda people. Everyone has to be into it."

This is it. (FOOD ALERT - some people hate this kind of this neck of the woods, people picket your house or restaraunt, throw nasty things at you or stalk you for selling or consuming it. So for those of you who are put off by foie gras, perhaps go check out Alenia at Home today. Its a fun blog written by someone who is cooking recipes out of the cookbook of the same name - from Chicago based restaurant of the same name.The last two posts have not contained fattened duck liver, but the second last post is pretty funny on cooking with cigars.)

Actually, this is only half of a foie gras liver, the other half has been stuffed into the Duck in a Can. More about that later.
Foie gras really is a strange food. More the consistancy of butter than than meat. It has been many years since I have worked with it and I really couldn't remember much about handling it. I was trying to clean it up before slicing it and it CRACKED - very frustrating, not to mention a little weird. It was too cool to be worked with, although likey the temperature was perfect for slicing.

But I get ahead of myself. Lets start with the menu. I should stress here that this food, although fairly sophisticated in preparation, is rustic in presentation. Very hard for an unprofessional photographer to make look beautiful. They do a much better job in the book! But don't judge the taste by the look. These dishes taste amazing. My favorite is the un-photogenic Duck in a Can. I cannot wait to eat this fantastically sloppy, fatty, rich dish again.

Rustic Tart with Duck, Goat Cheese and Sour Cherries

Stuffed Pigs Feet with Foie Gras

Duck in a Can

Green Bean
Lemon Tart

My friend K made the Stuffed Pigs Feet, and he has all the photos. I will have to post the preparation of those another time.
I was responsible for Duck in a Can. The handy thing about this recipe is that you can make it in advance and (Sacre bleu! Martin Picard will strike me dead if he reads the following) I think it would still taste incredible without the foie gras. Here is the recipe.


The Can
100 g (3 1/2 oz.) slice of foie gras, 2 1/2 cm (1 inch)thick
1/2 duck magret ( I think this is a typo - I think they forgot to write duck breast)
150 ml (2/3 cup)embeurree de chou (buttery cooked cabbage)
1 head roasted garlic
1 sprig thyme
25 ml (2 T) balsmaic vinegar meat glaze

In a skillet, sear the foie gras on boht sides until nicely coloured and then season to taste. Remove from heat immediately to stop cooking. Set the foie gras aside and keep cool.
Cut the magret to separate the skin and fat from the meat, being careful to keep the skin attached to the meat on one side. Season with salt and pepper. Insert the cold foie gras between the fat and the flesh of the magret.
Pour the meat glaze into the bottom of a can or 500 ml mason jar. Place the stuffed magret in the centre with the skin against the inside of the can or jar. Fill the remaining space with the embeurree di chou and the sprig of thyme. Finish by squeezing the roasted garlic out onto the contents. Seal the can or jar. (I stored my cans of duck for two days in the fridge)Here they are stacked and ready to cook. My appologies folks, I forgot to take pictures of the actual preparation.

PDC Embeurree de chou (Buttery Cooked Cabbage)
1 large Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 head garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced (I cut mine into longish strips)
200 gms (7 oz.) slab bacon, cut into 5 mm (1/4 inch) lardons
100 gms (3 1/2 oz.) butter
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper

In a sucepan, sweat the vegtables (except the cabbage) in the butter along with the lardons, cooking until nicely coloured. Then add the cabbafe and cook over medium hear for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking in the oven at 175 (350 F) until cabbage is soft. (I just continued cooking on the stove on low with a lid) Season to taste. Set aside to cool.
Some of this preparation will not be used. Keep it refridgerated for another purpose. (After stuffing the cans, I ate whatever was left immediatly)

Celeriac Puree
I celeriac (celery root)
100 ml (1/2 cup) 35% m.f. cream
30 ml (2 T)nut oil

Peel and chop the celeriac and cook it in boiling salted water. Puree it in a mixer or food processor, gradually adding th ecream until the mixture is smooth. Slowly mix in the nut oil. Add salt. Set aside.

Balsamic Vinegar Meat Glaze

250 (1 cup) 4 year aged balsamic vinegar
125 ml (1/2 cup) venison stock
25 g (2 T) butter
1 medium onion, thinly sliced

In a saucepan, sweat the onions in the butter, allowing them to caramelize slightly. Deglaze with balsamic vinegar and reduce the mixture by more than one half.
Add the venison stock and reduce until the glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add salt. Stir the cold butter into the hot glaze.
You should have about 150 (2/3 cup) of glaze.

Final Cooking and Preparation

Cook the Duck in a Can for exactly 27 minutes in a large pot of boiling water.

Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Toast a 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick piece of bread to make a crouton. Cover the crouton with the hot celeriac puree.

Turn the Duck in a Can upside down onto the puree.

(Yes, this is one hot mess - but it tastes unbelievably good. Be sure to take a bite that includes a little of everything, so that you get that "eyes roll to the back of the head" feeling.)

Serve, Raising a glass to your health and your hard work.

The Rustic Tart tasted great, too. (Pardon me if I compliment myself a little) The pastry is from Au Pied de Conchon, and the filling was influenced by Martin in that after making the rich pastry, recipe follows, I spread a cold bechamel sauce over the dough as part of the filling:

Pie Dough
225 gm (8 oz.) cold butter
275 gm (1 2/3 cup) all purpose flour
70 ml (1/3 cup) cold water
pinch fine salt

Cut butter into 2 cm cubes. Mix the flour, salt and butter togethr by hand or in food processor. Some small pieces of butter should remain in the flour mixture. They will help the pastry cook to perfection.
Add water and form a dough roll without working the pastry too much. Leave to rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat on low until most of the liquid is absorbed, two handfulls of dried sour cherries and a few glogs of port. Don't boil!!! Just heat to speed up the absorption time. If you are really organized, you would have soaked the cherries overnight. Strain the cherries just before sprinkling on to tart. Drink remaining port (the port will taste better if you had soaked over night!).

I used Martins method of making the base layer of the tart out of bechamel sauce, except it was cheese sauce that was kicking around in my fridge.

Roll patry out to about 1/8 of an inch thick.
Spread the middle with a thin-ish layer of bechamel sauce, leaving about 2 1/2 inches of pastry edge clear of bechamel. Lay out paper fine sheets of duck prosciutto over the bechamel. Sprinkle with chunks of cold goat cheese (so that it crumbles easily). Then sprinkle over this the cherries.
Fold the bare edges of the tart shell over the filling. Bake at 375 F until golden brown. Cool slightly to serve.

If you can't find duck prosciutto, you could use the traditional Italian ham version. It will be stringy compared the duck imitation. I got the duck prosciutto from a place on Granville Island called Oyama.