Lets cook with Cécile: all around blackberries…
My last shows have been all vegetarian…so for a change, here is some meat, but not any meat: duck.
I realize that for most American people duck is not a usual choice of meat (we are in beef and pork country here). Indeed, it was funny to see the TV crew’s face when I told them about it…But here it is, for the sake of culture opening, health and variety! (the guys on the set all loved it and were surprised to love it).
By the way, my duck with blackberry sauce recipe is directly inspired from a dish I fell in love with a long time ago, in a French restaurant my sweet heart of the time took me to impress me (he knew). We talked about this dish all night long. Yes you guys, we French are able to talk about food and enjoy it in any situations, even during a romantic diner.
Actually not…it doesn’t replace oranges: even though the final dish is completely different, it is as fragrant and elegant as a “Canard à l’orange sauce bigarrade”.
Besides the taste, the beauty of it is that it is a very light dish : no cream or butter, which you don’t always expect in French cuisine.
I keep it light even for the dessert, “biscuits à la cuillère” (home make lady fingers), which are a key ingredient to making a Charlotte.
What is a Charlotte? Here is a picture…You’ll get it :
It is made out of lady fingers, arranged around a mold, and filled with a mousse: fruit mousse, cooked apples or even chocolate mousse.
Here, we simply make the lady fingers and a blackberry coulis to dunk them in it . Next time, we’ll use them to make a Charlotte. But we’ll make only desserts then…
So, here are the recipes. This is not complicated…and worth the try.
For 4 servings
4 fresh duck legs
1 bag of frozen blackberries (about a pound)
1 tbs flour (any flour, even gluten free all purpose)
2 tbs coconut oil
1 cup red wine (the one you’ll drink with the dish, so chose wisely!)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 sliced celery stalk
2 sliced carrots
1 diced onion
1 cup duck stock
Laurel leaf, thyme
1/2 cup sugar
The day before : make your duck stock the same way as you would make chicken stock. Simply use duck in place of chicken. I used 3 duck legs, but you could the bones of a duck from which you cut off the legs and breasts.
To give you an idea, I put all the ingredients (duck, onions, garlic, thyme, a few carrots, a few celery stalks, a bay leaf, parsley ends, one or two cloves, a few leak greens, salt pepper) in my electric slow cooker and let it simmer all night. In the morning, I discard the veggies and spices, keep the meat for later, and filter the liquid. This liquid is gold…the best is to separate the grease before you use it.
To resume the instructions
Flour the duck legs
Put the oil to heat up in a dutch oven
Add the legs and let them color quickly
Salt and pepper.
Add the veggies, let them color
Cover with the stock
Cover and let simmer one hour.
In the meantime :
Make a caramel.
Stop the cooking with the vinegar and the wine.
When the caramel is melted, add the berries. Let reduce slowly while the duck cooks.
I love turnips with duck…but you could also use carrots, parsnips or cauliflower purée.
“Before the Charlotte” biscuits à la cuillère and blackberry coulis
Biscuits à la cuillère ( homemade lady fingers) are very quick and easy to make, as long as you have the proper material: a mixer is best, but it is doable by hand.
These light (fat free) and delicate cookies are kids favorite and can be flavored with almost anything: cocoa powder, vanilla, lemon and (the best) orange flower water.
Another nice way to enjoy them is dunk in coffee…a lot healthier than donuts!
4 free range or organic eggs
1/2 cup sugar (I like demerara or raw sugar)
1 cup all purpose flour (I like all purpose gluten free flour)
A drop of lemon essential oil
About 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
Optional : A little splash of orange flower water (about 1 tbs)
Note : avoid fake orange flower water with artificial flavor, alcohol and preservative. It should be only the hydrolate produced during the extraction of an essential oil.
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven at 400°F.
In a bowl (your mixer’s bowl is best…), place 4 egg whites, the essential oils and the orange flower water.
Whisk them at high speed. When they start firming, add slowly (still whisking) the sugar, then drop in it the yolks. Stop whisking after 2 or 3 seconds.
Add the sifted flour with a rubber spatula, delicately.
Do not over mix! If you get something liquid, it is over mixed.
Pour the mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and press identical fingers on the cookie sheet.
Dust them with powdered sugar (heavily) and bake them until golden brown.
Place some fresh blackberries in a blender with a little maple syrup (or powdered sugar) to taste and blend until liquid. You may filter ( or not) your coulis before use and store some for later in jam jars, in the fridge.