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Nov 8, 2016

Roast duck with cabbage

I have to admit that, before I had kids, the only meats that I would cook were chicken and pork. That was mainly because I didn't have time to make complex culinary experiments so, most of the times, dinner (which was the only meal we had at home) was either roast chicken or cheese salad. Lamb, fish, rabbit and even veal were too "exotic" to be prepared at home so we ate them at restaurants (not to mention that I hadn't even heard about quinoa, chia, amaranth - stuff that only recently started being imported into Romania).
Duck was for us in the same category, of "exotic" food, as it wasn't easy to find in supermarkets. I had heard though that duck with cabbage was a delicious meal so I decided I needed to cook that once.
When we started solids with the first kid, I began to be more interested in diverse nutrition and in offering her a variety of foods, so I started to cook all kinds of meats, veggies and recipes from all around the world. Finally, the time has come to prepare the "famous" duck with cabbage and, as time is still an issue, I tried to make the simplest possible recipe, which needed the least amount of attention from my side. What can I say, I still needed to keep an eye on the duck, as I was afraid it might have too much fat, so at some point I separated it from the cabbage and cooked them in different pots. All in all, duck with cabbage turned out to be delicious and the method was not too complicated after all so I suggest you to try it!

- one whole duck (cca. 1.8-2.0 kg);
- one cabbage (cca. 1.5 kg);
- 250g tomato paste (or 4 fresh tomatoes);
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper;
- one sprig fresh thyme and one sprig fresh rosemary;
- 4-5 dry bay leaves.
* this recipe does not contain salt; if you don't have restrictions you can add salt by taste and/or you can (also) use sauerkraut. 

Finely slice the cabbage and place it in a tray.
Put the duck in a pan, and fry it (in its own fat) over medium fire, on all sides, until the skin gets a bit crispy and it releases some fat. Remove the duck from the pan and place it in the tray, over the cabbage. Pour about 150 ml of water and add the spices. Place the tray in the oven, at 180 degrees C. If the tray doesn't have a lid, use some baking paper to cover it (at least for the first part).
After about 45-60 minutes remove the tray from the oven, make 2-3 cuts on the duck's skin and turn it on the other side (the juices will flow from the cuts you made).
Put the tray back in the oven for 30 more minutes.
Take the tray out, move the duck to another tray, without a lid and roast it some more in the oven until the skin becomes light brown and crispy.
Meanwhile, transfer the cabbage to a pot (you can add all the sauce from the tray or just a part of it) and add 250g tomato paste. Cook it on the stove over medium fire for about 10 more minutes or until it gets to the right consistency. 

To serve, place a few spoons of cabbage on a plate and add some duck breast slices or a whole duck leg on top.

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