By Cindy Ruth
As I'm reading some of the entries to our Flavors blog, I'm realizing that you don't always know who the person who made the recipe is. So I'll probably begin starting my posts with some dorky sentence like "It's Cindy, and ....". Okay, now you know it's me.
The ingredient for this week is duck. I enjoy duck whenever I eat it, but it is not something that I eat often. I've only cooked it a couple of times, and I just cooked duck breasts. This time as I was at the meat market contemplating between duck breasts and a whole duck, I decided to challenge myself even more and choose the whole duck. I can now add that to my repertoire.
I knew that I was going to be using some of the shredded duck for my appetizer recipe, so first I needed to decide how to cook the duck. I decided to roast it, and I used the recipe from Barbara Kafka's "Roasting, a Simple Art". I'm not going to post that recipe since it's not really part of the recipe I did today, but I can tell you it's a great way to cook the duck. You place it in a pot of simmering stock for 45 minutes before you roast it. This melts away a large amount of the fat, so the duck wasn't greasy at all. I ate the duck breasts with some of the Red Wine Cherry Sauce one night for dinner, then used the thighs, etc. for this appetizer the next day.
Now onto today's recipe. I decided to make an appetizer. I wanted a little sweet potato cake topped with the other ingredients that you could hold in your hand for a small bitefull. These didn't turn out where you could hold them in your hand, you definately needed a plate and fork. I think you could play around with the potato cake recipe to come up with the consistency of one that you could hold. If you make them smaller, and finely shredd the potatoes that might make the difference.
The flavor of this appetizer was delicious. Making (and eating) these was the first time I kinda blew my weight watcher diet since I joined a month ago. I just couldn't stop eating them. They provide a mouthful of contrasting flavors. You have the crispy sweet potato pancake, topped with some tangy goat cheese, the rich duck meat, and topped off by the tang of a dried cherry/red wine/balsamic vinegar reduction. I think this will be another one I'll be making in the future. I think you could do lots of different kinds of meat here also. Chicken thighs or shredded pork are a couple of suggestions.
The complimentary ingredients I used in today's dish are CHERRIES, honey, leeks, shallots, sweet potatoes, thyme, and balsamic VINEGAR.
Sweet Potato Cakes with Duck, Goat Cheese and Dried Cherry Reduction
(I am not a recipe writer and this one is hard to give you exact quanties on. I cooked a whole duck, ate the breasts one night with the cherry sauce. I used the other parts of the duck to make this appetizer. I used about 1-2 oz of goat cheese, and still had left-overs of the sauce. My guess is that it made about 12-15 cakes about 4" in diameter.)
Cooked Duck, shredded
Goat cheese, 1-2 oz
Dried Cherry Sauce (see recipe below)
Sweet Potato Pancakes (see recipe below)
1. Make Red Wine Cherry Reduction. Can be made a day or two in advance. Reheat before using.
2. Soften goat cheese. You can place in microwave for just a few seconds.
3. Reheat your shredded duck.
4. Make Sweet Potato Cakes.
5. Spread the sweet potato cakes with a thin layer of goat cheese. Top with the shredded duck and red wine cherry reduction. Serve immediately. (Oh, and I topped with some baby cress.)
Red Wine Cherry Reduction
1 1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Honey to taste
Combine red wine, vinegar, cherries, shallot and thyme in small saucepan and simmer over med-low heat until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Puree in a food processor or blender. Taste for sweetness. Mine was too tart, so I added about 1 tablespoon of honey. My honey had red pepper flakes, which gave it a wonderful heat.
Sweet Potato Cakes
1 large sweet potato
grated onion (2-3 tablespoons) or use leek as I did
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon flour
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Peel potatoes. Coarsely grate (I used my food processor with the grating blade, and just stuck part of a leek in there at the same time). Place in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Heat oil in a heavy large skillet. Place a large tablespoon of potato mixure into pan. Continue until pan is full. Fry until golden, turn, and continue on the second side. Place on paper towel to drain.