Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pate de Canard en Croute--the Trilogy. Part I; Deboning a Duck

Pate de canard en croute is the signature dish of Julia Child.  In the movie Julie and Julia, you know where Julie Powell (the Amy Adams character) blogs her way through the entirety of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, it's the entre that she brings out at the end of the film to prove that she is one mean cook.  It's a recipe that takes up a 20 pages, including cross-references to other recipes, and took me about 8 hours to make.  I couldn't do the entire book--all I could manage was this one recipe and it pretty much kicked my butt.  That's why Julie Powell gets a full length feature movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams and I get this blog.  Nonetheless, I did take the time to chronicle my pate de canard en croute with pictures, and I'll share it with you here. (My apologies in advance to my Facebook friends who will clearly recognize this series of postings as cheap re-runs.  I should add, however, that there is new material--sort of like buying a DVD of a movie that you've already seen because it's the "director's cut" version.)

Debone the Duck
Step One.  Get yourself some good knives because you are going to debone a duck.  (Cheap plug--see my first blog entry "Getting Started in the Kitchen" for a primer on getting a good knife).

Step Two.  Take the plastic off the duck and start cutting.  Make sure you start at the top of the backbone.  If you start at the belly, you're toast and you might as well just go buy another duck, and sheesh, they're expensive little buggers.

First Cut

Step Three.  You're still cutting.  Julia Child states that deboning your first duck will take about 45 minutes, but it's a well-known fact that she loved her gin.  I only got about half-way after 45 minutes.  It's a slow process wherein you keep your really sharp knife next to the carcass bone.  Just keep repeating--let the bone be my guide.  Sort of like Yoda telling Luke Skywalker to follow the Force.  Follow the bone.  Follow the bone.  But it takes time.  It took me just about 2 hours the first (and only) time to debone a duck.


45 minutes in and still cutting
Sort of looks like you backed over it with a truck.

Of course, when you are all done, you have a deflated duck and a bowl full of bones, which if you add 2 quarts of water and a mire poix, you will have a lovely duck soup.

Whew.  OK then.  Your kitchen now looks like you've been entertaining Freddy Krueger most of the day.  Clean the place up and come back for Part II--Stuffed Duck.

No comments:

Post a Comment