Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day Three -Mastering The Art of French Cooking - Duck Confit, Duck Stock and Shrimp Crepes

I'm very committed to trying at least one recipe per day when testing out a cookbook.  So I was a little stumped when my husband insisted on having yesterday’s leftovers, Carbonnades A La Fammande.  With big dishes like that one, I usually freeze the rest for a weekend meal.  No chance this time.

I decided to take the opportunity to deal with the duck carcass I had in the freezer. I've always wanted to know how to make duck confit.  You hear about it all the time on cooking shows and in restaurants.  So, this was now my challenge.  I also wanted to have duck stock on hand.  Can't find duck stock in a store too easily, so waste not want not.

The duck confit (bottom container) was simple.  I just pulled all the fatty parts of the carcass and put them in the pot, added a cup of water and just let nature take it's course.  The water evaporates over time and Bob' your uncle...Duck confit is created.  I have to say it looks beautiful, clear and golden.  I've never been so proud. 

The stock (top container) was easy.  Julia gives you a few simple ingredients to add with the duck bones and neck and all you do is add water and simmer for a few hours.  The stock is excellent for sauces and gravies.

Even though I did the confit and stock, I felt a bit guilty not cooking a real dish.  So, I decided to make Julia's Crepes with Shrimp.  I've made crepes many times so I felt pretty sure what to expect.  The batter was straight forward, until the recipe called for the batter to sit in the fridge for 2 hours.  I'm not sure this step was really necessary.  I didn't find a difference in the ingredients from any other recipes I've tired before. None of them called for a 2-hour cooling period.  The crepe its self cooked, worked and tasted like any other recipe.  However, the filling was something else.  The filling was so creamy, buttery and yummmmmm.  I don't know how to explain something so delicious other than to say you have to make this recipe yourself.  The actual recipes are called Pate A Crepes + Fondue De Crustaces (Crepes + Cream Filling with Shellfish or Clams).  The recipe called for flaked or canned shellfish.  I used frozen shrimp.  It was fantastic. The recipe didn't even call for a lot of butter; but the taste was there anyway.
If your not a fish person, there is another variation in the book Cream Filling with Chicken or Turkey.

Although I didn't start any of these recipes until after 6:00 pm. They were sure worth working through the evening to get them done.

The Cookbook Addict