This is what happens when you go see “Julie & Julia” with foodie friends: at the end, when Julie triumphantly brings out the “Pate de Canard en Croute” (aka Boned Stuffed Duck Baked in a Pastry Crust) you look at each and vow, “We are SO doing that!”
So, yesterday, we did.
Rosemary, Vikki, Carol and I began just after 11 am, bearing in mind that the thing has to bake 2 hours, sit several hours, then chill for hours more–and that’s AFTER you bone & stuff the thing. We eventually dined at 8 pm, which seemed quite reasonable, really.
Well, honestly, the first step was Rosemary’s mistletoe mojitos. Dissecting a duck can drive a girl to drink.
Then the butchery commenced. Julia warns “…the procedure may take 45 minutes the first time because of fright” and while we weren’t exactly frightened, it did take about that long.
Eventually we did accomplish what Julia calls “an unrecognizable mass of confusion” which was seasoned with allspice, cognac, port, and truffle oil and left to sit while the stuffing was prepared.
Note: at this point I had to run out for a hair appt–it was unavoidable. But my friends carried on in my absence, ransacking my kitchen, creating the pork & veal stuffing…
…wrapping the boneless duck suit around said stuffing, and lacing it all together…
And browning it beautifully.
Upon my return, my job was to make the crust, the “croute” of the title.
Then our avian friend was wrapped in swaddling dough and laid in a baking pan–and off to the oven it went. Two hours later, the house smelled divine and it looked like this:
Of course, it had to cool and chill for hours more, so a movie or two later Rosemary whipped up a fantabulous cheese souffle:
And attempted Hollandaise sauce for the broccoli…
…which was rather less successful.
But never mind. The duck was divine, the souffle perfection, the broccoli was fine with a little butter & lemon juice, Carol’s chocolate bread pudding with brandy sauce was delicious, and a grand time was had by all. (Vikki & Rosemary had such a grand time they ended up spending the night.)
So, we have conquered the duck. And while it’s not something I’d make every week, I would consider it for a (very) special occasion. Meanwhile, our merry band of foodies is already plotting next year’s holiday cooking extravaganza. We’re thinking “Filet de Boeuf Braise Prince Albert” which in English is “Braised Filet of Beef Stuffed with Foie Gras and Truffles”. Or maybe…