Tuesday, November 13, 2007

monday supper: date with a duck

Sunday supper ended up on Monday this week, since we were out eating noodles with the family on Sunday. I don't know why I thought this dish would be doable on a Monday evening after work. It's a good thing J-Cat got home pretty late last night because it took longer than any weeknight dinner should ever take and I would have felt bad if he had to sit around waiting for a couple of hours. I do think it was more than worth the wait, though, as it was a dish that I literally dream about: Duck Ragu with Fresh Pappardelle.

What ended up taking more time than expected was the preparation of the duck legs. The simple line in Mario Batali's recipe that says "4 duck legs and thighs, skinned" seems so innocuous, until you realize how freakin fatty duck legs are. I think at least half of the weight of those duck legs was thick hard fat that had to be trimmed away along with the skin. But once that was done and the legs seared off, it was smooth sailing.

This was not an inexpensive dish. In addition to the duck, which is a pretty pricey meat, the recipe called for 2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms. He has another version of the recipe that leaves out the mushrooms, but I think they add incredible flavor.

The interesting thing about this dish is that the aroma was rather gamey and made me worry that the duck would be overpowering, but the flavor was much more subtle than the apartment smelled as it cooked. All in all, I was more than happy with the results. This is one of those dishes that I always seem to crave on a gray, rainy day, and I'm thrilled that my homemade version can totally satisfy. Perhaps I cheated a bit by getting ready-made fresh pappardelle at the Italian market, but perhaps next time, for a real Sunday Supper, I'll do it up right. Find the recipe here.

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