Welcome to the next instalment. Why is this entitled ‘Revelations’ you may well ask. A resounding no, it is not due to biblical reasons. Although when tasting, I almost encountered a blinding light moment. But that is getting to the end of my recipe, so let’s step back to the beginning.
Next up in the famed bookcase is our very own Helen Jackson’s recently released book ‘Helen Jackson’s Kitchen’ This led to a slight mental conundrum. The very website where you are reading this blog is the wonderful foodlovers.co.nz – and is Helen’s website. Can you see the reason for my angst? What if the recipe didn’t turn out? I am sure you can imagine the mental anguish I endured. Loyalty vs Honesty vs ‘What if I ruin this?’
The better half selected the recipe. What did he select? Of all the recipes therein, the one I would usually peruse and decide ‘too hard, too many ingredients’. Pass it over. This time I couldn’t. He decided he would like the ‘Duck and Pork Cassoulet’
In the introduction to the recipe, Helen clearly states – quote ‘Please don’t be put off by the ingredient list or the time involved, as this dish really is simple’ The recipe is in the ‘Feeding A Crowd’ Chapter, therefore it needed to be adapted to a recipe for two. Eight Duck Legs may well feed a crowd, but I settled for two. Also the price of duck legs had me ducking for cover. Rather than opting for Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie – only Donald and Daisy made the cut. Also mentioned was Toulouse sausages (every time I see the word Toulouse – I think too loose or too tight?). I have never encountered a Toulouse sausage in my life, so they were omitted. Other ingredients were pork slices, chorizo, onions, garlic, carrots, celery (omitted – can’t stand the stuff to be honest), thyme, crushed tomatoes, red wine (oh yeah), tomato paste, bay leaf, water, tinned cannellini beans and parsley. Phew – can you see the reason for my initial trepidation?
The duck legs are rubbed with salt, placed in a roasting dish and you then pour over a measure of olive oil, and slow roast these at a low temperature. Allow to cool and then into the fridge until required.
When ready to prepare the recipe, brown finely sliced pork and chorizo until lovely and golden. Resist the urge for a taste test. Ignore that – pinch a morsel. To the pan add onions, garlic – Helen has 5 cloves of garlic for her large recipe. To keep the Garlic Industry thriving I still used this amount. Also add chopped carrots, celery (which mysteriously was missing?) and thyme. Cook over a gentle heat and transfer this to a large casserole dish and add tomatoes, wine (taste test required solely for quality control reasons), tomato paste and bay leaf, with water (no taste test required). Cover and into the oven (the casserole, not you) for one hour and give the dish an occasional stir After one hour add cannellini beans which have been rinsed and drained, and back in the oven for another 30 minutes
Where is the Duck you may say. Don’t worry – this is where Donald and Daisy made their grand entrance. Helen says to serrate the legs and thighs with a sharp knife and brown until the skin is crisp and golden. Donald and Daisy didn’t require this, so I just pulled all the meat and skin off in rustic chunks, and added it to the casserole, and continued cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Out of the oven, scatter with Parsley and serve with crusty bread. Our verdict – without assuming a brown nose position – amazing, yummy and tummy filling! What a wonderful recipe thank you Helen. Which is where the Revelations at the beginning enters the equation. I would make this again. However if it was only Darby and Joan consuming aforementioned meal, I would substitute chicken as I am sure that combination would work just as well.
Fortunately my recipe winning streak has continued. To allow myself to remember which recipes to revisit, little book marks are placed in the appropriate places. It is wonderful to have a cooking repertoire to choose from but I have to remind myself to remember our old favourites as well.
As for my next recipe? Once again I am holding my breath on the choice. Not due to the recipe but due to the appliance used. Let’s wait and see. Until next time this is Irene, over and out!