The Duck Before the Turkey

Braised Duck Breast with Blueberry Ginger Sauce

Braised Duck Breast

Braised Duck Breast

Why food is so comforting to me is historical. At some critical point in my young life, I connected to food during perhaps a high-stress moment and it took off from there…

After dancing the “Barefoot Boogie” I was in the vicinity of a popular Asian market called H-Mart. It was 11 PM or close to that so I wondered if it was still open and if it were, perhaps I might enjoy a crowd-free shopping adventure.  And yes, it was open.  And yes, I had practically the entire store to myself.  I came upon this duck breast – though a bit pricy – looked ultra fresh, so I bought it.

Fresh duck is a rarity here in NYC, I often have to look high and low for it so it came into my orb unexpectedly with little effort on my part. Sometimes it’s nice when decisions are made for you.

After unpacking the breast, it was discouraging to find that there was so much more skin and fat than actual meat. I purchased 2.1 pounds and trimmed and tossed about ¾ pound of the duck skin ($18.99/pound for a total cost of $40.07!)!

Braised Duck Breast

Fresh duck in NYC — rare!

Braised Duck Breast

The breast after trimming some of the skin and fat.

Braised Duck Breast

Very fresh!

Duck is so worth it! It is easy to cook and always tastes good – as long as it’s fresh!

Then I had a pint of blueberries from a couple of days ago and thought that fruit goes so well with various meats like pork, chicken and duck. And blueberries with lemon and ginger – divine!

Braised Duck Breast

Some of the main ingredients. Fresh!

While there are more steps involved than you might normally expect from me, they’re easy steps and can be done ahead. Try it.  It will not disappoint!

Braised Duck Breast

Braised Duck Breast with Blueberry Ginger Sauce

Sauce
Ingredients

Pint of blueberries
1 1/2 C water
2 T sugar
1 T fresh ginger, minced
½ t lemon zest & ½ t lemon juice

Process: add all ingredients to a pot and cook for about 20-30 minutes until some thickening appears.  Allow to cool then puree in a blender and put through a sieve.  Set aside.

Duck
Ingredients

Duck breast – 1 ½ pounds, rinsed and dried
1 t dried ginger
1 T fresh ginger, minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
¼ t salt
Dash of red pepper flakes
1 t Zhenjiang Vinegar (black rice vinegar)

Process: mix all the marinade ingredients together then add to duck and allow to marinate for an hour or more.  In a heated, dry pan, add the duck, skin-side down.  Cover and allow to cook on low flame without turning over for about 12 minutes.  As grease from the duck fills the pan, remove it until the pan is almost dry.  Turn the duck and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes increasing heat.  To brown the skin, turn once more for another minute then remove from heat.  Serve with blueberry ginger sauce and salad or another side such as jasmine rice with peas.

Braised Duck Breast


New Jersey Blues In Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Blueberries on sale…  Uh oh, here we go…

My first attempt at a double-crusted fruit pie!  The crust was phenomenal and great fun to make!

The flavor of this pie (more like a cobbler) was top notch however, the filling did not solidify due to the amount of liquid added.  If you decide to attempt this recipe, please use 1/2 cup of water for the filling recipe.

Blueberry Pie

Recipe

Blueberry Filling (Doubled my own Blueberry Crostata filling recipe with some added flavor.)

Ingredients
2 pints New Jersey blueberries
1 C 1/2 C water
3 T potato starch
1 C organic sugar
4 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 t freshly squeezed orange juice
1 t lemon zest
1/4 t salt
pinch nutmeg, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes

Process:  cook 2 cups of the blueberries in the water; bring to a boil.  In a separate bowl mix the potato starch, lemon and orange juices, sugar, zest, salt and other spices; add this mixture to the boiling blueberries and stir constantly; let simmer for about 2 minutes and remove from heat; after cooled, gently add to the remaining blueberries mixing well.

Crust (Used King Arthur’s double crust recipe.)

Ingredients
2 1/2 C flour
1 1/4 t salt
1/4 C shortening
10 T chilled butter
6-10 T ice water
1 egg, well mixed

Process:  combine flour and salt; cut in the shortening and butter; add ice water checking for softened yet not overly wet dough; lay out on floured surface; divide in half and form two disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour; roll out dough to fit pie plate; add to plate and refrigerate to relax the gluten.

Roll out top dough crust; add to parchment paper and refrigerate. Add filling to chilled pie crust; apply egg wash to the crust edges; add top crust and crimp and seal all around.  Brush entire pie with egg wash; sprinkle with sugar; bake for 1 1/2 hours in a preheated 350F degree oven.

Videos for the various techniques to crimp pie crusts can be found here.

Blueberry Pie

Good luck, have fun and enjoy the delicious benefits!