Eating: Compote de Canard de Chow (for Friendsgiving!)
One of the funny things about being an American abroad is that sometimes it turns Thanksgiving into an even bigger event than in the States - it's just that instead of having your "mom" (#heteronormative and also technically not my experience) cook a giant meal for all your nearby kin, YOU end up cooking multiple dishes across multiple days to bring to multiple Friendsgivings outings.
This autumn, I've had an incredible craving for the taste of apples. And so every Friendsgiving potluck dish has been some sort of protein, pressure-cooked with a ton of apples, cinnamon and whatever else I have on hand. The Duck Stew (Compote de Canard de Chow, if you wanna get fancy) I made for one of these various Friendsgivings got raves from people who are actually competitive about food though, so I'll share that specific recipe here.
Compote de Canard de Chow
(Serves around 12 people, assuming they are also eating a ton of other stuff)
Needs a pressure cooker and possibly up to three separate steps if you're planning on transporting this somewhere.
Marinade: Soy sauce, sesame oil, cinnamon powder, black pepper and apple-cider vinegar. But to tell the truth, I made this without measuring at all. Pour willy nilly. Stir. Dip a finger in like the dirty, dirty girl you are and taste to see if it tastes just slightly too strong to be a salad dressing. Then utilize it.
1.8kg of duck legs
2 medium carrots
2 fuji apples
2-3 tsp of cinnamon powder
1 cup of dry white wine
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp of white granulated sugar
Enough oil to slick a big pan (everything else will be rendered from the duck fat)
1 full head of napa cabbage (about 500g?)
1 full lotus root
1 green apple
2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil
salt & pepper to taste
2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
Part 1: The Duck Part
- Rub the duck legs with the marinade. Let it sit, preferably overnight but, to be honest, ten minutes seemed to still turn out some flavorful duck because duck is a beautiful and fatty meat unlike turkey.
- While you're waiting for some marinade magic, might as well get a-chopping. Slice those onions. Cut those lemons into thin rounds. Chop up those Fuji apples and carrots into pieces roughly the size of LEGO blocks. You can also finish parts of this step in between now and the pan-roasting below. IDK, you do you, I'm not here to micromanage.
- Pan-roast the duck legs over a medium heat until they're a dark tan color. Pan roasting the 7-8 legs that 1.8kg is worth ought to get you a nice 1-inch deep pit of grease in your pan. This is good.
- Put the chopped carrots and half the chopped apples into the bottom of your pressure cooker pot.
- Begin adding the duck legs on top. It may take up about three layers worth of your pressure cooker. Give a grind of salt and pepper to each layer before adding the next layer of duck legs on.
- Now, utilize the grease left over in your pan to fry up the onions and lemons. Add in the sugar at this point too.
- Pour it - grease and all - on top of the duck legs.
- Set your pressure cooker to cook. I have an electric one, so I set it to the "chicken" setting.
Part II: Extra Veg/Fruit
- Chop that lotus root into rounds. Then quarter them.
- Warm your cooking oil in a wok and then put the lotus roots in.
- It'll actually take about 10min for the lotus root to cook, so in the meantime, chop up your napa cabbage and green apple.
- When most of the lotus root looks slightly caramelized, pour in the chopped napa cabbage.
- Then when the napa cabbage begins to look wilted, pour in the chopped green apple.
- Salt & black pepper to taste.
- Keep it to the side. If you're transporting this stuff, you might want to drain out some of the cabbage water.
Part III: Mix it all up!
- Put the cooked veg in a tupperware.
- Put all the cooked contents of your pressure cooker into the same tupperware.
Part IV: For serving at a different venue
- Bring that tupperware and the two cups of broth to the party you're going to.
- Commission a big enough soup pot from the resident of the house.
- Put in an initial cup of water, just to line the bottom. Turn the heat onto medium.
- Carefully put in the contents of your tupperware.
- Add the chicken or vegetable broth.
- Simmer for 20min.
- Transport into serving bowl and serve.
You know - despite 2017 starting out as a pretty traumatizing year for anyone who doesn't like the thought of nuclear war or blatantly immoral American Presidents, it's helped me realize how much there is to be thankful for in my own life.
I'll probably elaborate later.
But for now, I'm bringing it up because one thing I'm thankful for is that I know so many good cooks and foodheads. Between all these parties, my plates have been full of amazing, delicious home (and tbf a lot of restaurant-brought, esp for the turkeys) cooking. That really shouldn't be underrated.