Sunday, February 22, 2009

Duck Amuck

I was experimenting recently with a breast of duck from Bulk Cheese Warehouse, a refined cheese shop and butchers here in Saskatoon. I had gone in for pork, but the guy behind the counter drew my attention to the duck. As he put it, no pun intended it would seem, the duck breasts were "flying out the door." What to do with the breast, though? Canard a l'orange would be great, but a bit beyond my means right now. It was left to me to experiment.
One thing that I recall from the duck cooking demos in Montreal was to cross hatch the skin so the fat could more easily melt away from the duck. A good thing to do, believe me, duck is fatty. But I had to season it somehow, so first settled on marinating it in Irish whiskey (Tullamore Dew) for a couple of hours. I then chose nutmeg, saffron, ground allspice and Dutch cocoa to coat the meat. I let that sit for a bit and pressed cracked black pepper into the skin.
I overcooked it for sure - I am not that familiar with duck. However the flavour is good and cocoa seems to compliment duck quite well. I served up baked carrots and an orzo "salad". I chopped up parsley and with onion, mixed it in olive oil and a pinch of salt and then added that to the still hot orzo pasta.

- Magnus

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Sort of Spanish Rice Dish

The past year has seen me become rather obsessed with paprika. At one time I was rather non-plused by paprika and only thought of it as that spice you have to add to make chili. However, my Dad's wife introduced me to good quality paprika and especially smoked paprika. Yesterday, I made a simple rice and bean dish with chicken.

1 cup of rice and 1 cup of Great Northern Beans. Cook ahead of time and mix together.

Add olive oil to a pan, heat it up and add 2 cloves of garlic and 1/4 diced white onion. (my preference) As you sautee, add 1 mildly heaping tsp of smoked paprika and a couple of dashes of saffron. I also added 7 pepper pods - these small dried pods containing seeds - and a dash of nutmeg. (I have to grind whole nuts)
I cooked this for a about 35 minutes in the pan and served with a chicked thigh that I had stripped and spooned green salso over. I garnished this with fresh cilantro. I would have served it with a beer of some sort, but didn't have any. Oh well. ¡Arriba!

- Magnus

Monday, February 16, 2009

stuffed chicken breasts with roasted garlic cheddar mashed potatoes

Last night's supper was to involve phyllo somehow, but I forgot it in the freezer, so I made up a meal with what I had on hand and whoooo boy. You have to try it. Delicious!
It looks tricky but it is rather simple to do and worth the extra time

2 large chicken breasts
1/2 package frozen spinach thawed and drained well by squeezing in a towel
1/2 c crumbled feta
1 lemon
1tb alsamic vinegar
1t greek salad dressing
3 black olives
1 green onion
4 large mushrooms, diced up small
1/4 c diced red pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 T oregano and pepper
1/2 c bread crumbs

4-5 red potatoes
1 toe garlic
olive oil
1/2 c grated old cheddar cheese
1 T butter

Warm the oven to 350.
Take a toe of garlic, cut off the top and drizzle a T or so of olive oil on it and wrap it in tin foil, with the cut off part facing up. Place it in the oven for ~20 minutes until roasted to softness. You'll need it for the potatoes later.

Take 2 large chicken breasts and pound flat and thin. Set aside.
In a bowl, add spinach, feta, green onion, red pepper, mushrooms, olives (cut up small), garlic (crushed) and oregano and pepper,vinegar and dressing (olive oil of you don't have it). Mix the filling together well.
Divide the filling in half, and place it on the chicken breasts, folding the breast around it and holding it shut with a few toothpicks as best you can. You just need to keep it together for baking - nothing perfect. There might be some leftover filling that won't fit in- just sprinkle filling on top of the dish once it is in the pan. Roll the stuffed chicken in breadcrumbs as best you can.
Take a lemon and cut one half of it into 4 slices. Place the 4 slices on the bottom of a small baking dish. Place the two stiffed chicken breasts on top of this. Squeeze the juice of the remaining half of lemon over the chicken. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle remaining topping on top of the chicken.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is done and the top is turning golden. Overbaking will make it a bit dry, so pull it out as soon as it looks done. Serve immediately with a steamed veggie of your choice and the potato side I did last night - roasted garlic cheddar mashed potatoes.

For the potatoes:
While your chicken is baking, you can make the potatoes easily. You'll need to boil up the peeled red potatoes, cut into smaller pieces to speed cooking. Once cooked, drain and add 1T butter. Take the toe of roasted garlic you made with the chicken and squeeze in the yummy baked garlic (1/2 of it - all of it, depending on your love of garlic. Roasted garlic is very mild, so put in a bit more than you think you need to. I used it all). Then add about 1/2 c grated old cheddar cheese and 1/4 t fresh black pepper. Mash/puree the potatoes with a hand mixer into a yummy cheesy garlic goo.

Enjoy with a glass of your favourite white wine.
Go on...:)

Monday, February 9, 2009


I made pork, bean and cabbage soup the other night and it is good. Pretty standard stuff aside from two ingredients. The proportions weren't accurate so I am guessing.

Take your onions and garlic and saute them in butter or margarine. (I cut my margarine with olive oil) Add cracked black pepper, 1 level tspn of salt and 1 heaping tspn of Dijon mustard. I also tossed in about two ounces of Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. (Standard Blend for those who are wondering)

Once the onions are caramelized, (or there in abouts) toss in two ham hocks. As the ham hocks begin to brown toss in your veggies. I used one whole Spanish onion, two russet potatoes, three large carrots, a handful of chopped parsley, half a head of green cabbage and also tossed in some left over spinach. (1/8 of a cup)

After an hour of simmering in a closed lid pot, I added a mixture of navy beans and Great Northern beans. (both organic and I soaked them in water for 24 hours. I added water and one whole leek and let it cook for another 2 hours.

After removing the bones I had enough soup to fill three large yogurt and two medium margarine containers. It is also bloody spectacular.