I did it! Pate de canard en croute

Christmas - pate de canard en croute slice

Where have all the food posts gone to ?? *guilty*

Here’s a super long one. ….. really really long to make up for all the delicious food photos 🙂

Remember that time I was so ambitious to prepare a Christmas dinner for my family. Hehe.. This was the main dish. Actually I just wanted to give my try on this dish, but it would seem really awkward to have a duck, and nothing else at the sides. What the heck, cut the story short, I bought a duck, boned it (or is it deboned it), stuffed with minced meat, closed, tied, fried, wrapped, baked it.

Christmas duck

So this dish is from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking book. I had to make copies of the recipes because I wouldn’t risk tainting the book with duck juice *errr yeah* But really, I had to be like “what the heck” all the time because it’s my first time boning a bird, duck or chicken (or any animal). If you have seen the movie Julie & Julia, it’s also one of the dish that Julie dreaded (besides killing the lobster) Whether I would make this dish again, probably not, not because of the tedious hardwork that goes into the preparation of this dish, but I thought it didn’t taste as tasty as I wish it would. Maybe I had used pork, chicken and duck instead of minced beef ? Or was it because I left out the truffle? Nevertheless, the crust was tasty (made with pork fat) and I would love to have that crust again (maybe encasing some other birds)

So here we go! (lots of pictures, if you’re wondering how I took the pictures, I had a tripod ON my kitchen counter and had the camera there).

duck1

 

 

First, you gotta know your enemy.

duck2

Cut a deep slit down the back of the bird from the neck to the tail, to expose the backbone.

duck3 duck4

With a small, sharp knife, its edge always cutting against the bone, scrape and cut the flesh from the carcass bones down one side of the bird, pulling the flesh away from the carcass with your fingers as you cut.

duck5

It seems almost confusing to retype everything in MtAoFC here because it absolutely made no sense to me. i had only memories of how the pakcik in the night market bones the chicken and cuts them into sections. I recalled my memory on that and practiced it on this duck

duck6

At this point, it smells bloody and I’m like …. dammit, more bones ? I can’t help but to rest my leg on a mini stool

duck7

Yes, remove drumlet bones too. Chop off the wings at the elbows, to leave just the upper wing bones attached.

duck8

Then arrange this mass of mess, flesh side up. discard any bits of fat adhering to the flesh. Slice off the thickest layers of the breast and thigh meat. Cut to cubes about 1/2 inch across. Place the cubes back on the duck, season and sprinkle with cognac and / port. Add optional truffle and their juice. Roll up the duck, place it in a bowl and refrigerate.

duck9stuffing

Prepare the stuffings (that white part, pure pork fat) Mix the duck cubes into this as well. I also added some fresh cranberries and pistachio nuts for the christmas touch.

duck10

Now, spread the boned duck on a board, skin-side down. Heap the stuffing in the centre and shape it into a loaf.

duck11-truss

Bring the duck skin up over the loaf to enclose  it completely. Sew it in place with a trussing needle and white string.

duck12

I didn’t have the trussing needle and white string, so I used a skewer, to truss it, one on each end.

duck12 - tie

Then make ties around the circumference of the duck to give it a cylindrical shape.

duck13-fry

Pat the skin dry, and fry away!! Uhmmm yes we used a wok 🙂 You need to brown the duck slowly on all sides.

duck14-wrap

Remove and allow to cool on a tray (not in pic) The trussing strings remain on the duck to hold its shape while baking. then make the crust. Use two thrids of it and roll out to an oval shape, then place the duck on top, trussed side down. (make sure the duck is not too hot otherwise you get lotsa oily patches on the crust)

duck15

Bring the pastry up around the duck, patting it into place. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut into an oval to fit over the top of the duck.

duck16

Pain the edges of the bottom pastry oval with a pastry brush dipped in beaten egg, and press the top oval in place. Flute or pinch the edges together to seal them.

duck17

Make circles or ovals with a biscuit cutter in the remaining pastry and press fan-shaped lines into them with the back of a knife. Paint the top pastry oval with beaten eg. Press the pastry cutouts over and pain with beaten egg again.

Make a 1/8 inch hole in the centre of the pastry and insert a foil funnel (I used an inverted piping tip, wrapped in foil); this will allow cooking steam to escape.

Bake for 2 hours (mine was about 1 hr 45 mns) at 175 C.

duck18

Remove from oven and cool for a white. Julia suggest to serve this dish cold, but I cant bring to eating cold meatloaf, so we left it to rest for 15 mins and then served

duck19

Tadah! there’s a duck inside. Remove all threads and trussing needles from the duck.

duck20

I did it! Pate de canard en croute
 
Ingredients
PASTRY
  • 560-580g flour
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 60g vegetable shortening or pork fat
  • 120g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • About 120 - 135 ml cold water
  • Extra flour (for sprinkling)
DUCK
  • 5-pound (2.25kg) roaster duckling
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 2 diced canned truffles and their juice (optional)
  • 4 cups pork and veal stuffing (see recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
STUFFING
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 350g minced veal and pork (I used chicken and pork)
  • 225g fresh pork fat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • big pinch of all spice
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 clove mashed garlic
ASSEMBLY
  • Flour (for sprinkling)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water
Instructions
PASTRY
  1. In a big bowl, place flour, salt, sugar, butter, and shortening. Rub the flour and fat together rapidly between the tips of your fingers until the fat is broken into pieces the size of oatmeal flakes. Do not overdo this step as the fat will be blended more thoroughly later.
  2. Add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped, as you rapidly gather the dough into a mass. Sprinkle up to 3 tablespoons more water by droplets over any unmassed remains and add them to the main body of the dough. Press the dough firmly into a roughly shaped ball. It should just hold together and be pilable, not damp and sticky.
  3. Place the dough on a lightly floured board. With the heel of one hand, not the palm, which is too warm, rapidly press the pastry by the two spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6 inches. This constitutes the final blending of fat and flour, or fraisage.
  4. With a scraper or spatula, gather the dough again into a mass. Knead it briefly into a fairly smooth round ball. Divide into 2 pieces - ⅔ and ⅓. Sprinkle them lightly with flour and wrap in waxed paper. Place in the freezer for 1 hour or until the dough is firm but not congealed, or refrigerate for 2 hours.
DUCK
  1. Cut a deep slit down the back of the bird from the neck to the tail to expose the backbone. With a small, sharp knife, its edge always cutting against the bone, scrape and cut the flesh from the carcass bones down one side of the bird, pulling the flesh away from the carcass with your fingers as you cut.
  2. When you come to the ball joints connecting the wings and the second joints to the carcass, sever them, and continue down the carcass until you reach the ridge of the breast where skin and bone meet. You must be careful here, as the skin is thin and easily slit.
  3. Repeat the same operation on the other side of the bird. By the time you have completed half of this, the carcass frame, dangling legs, wings, and skin will appear to be an unrecognizable mass of confusion, and you will wonder how in the world any sense can be made of it at all. But just continue cutting against the bone, and not slitting any skin, and all will come out as it should.
  4. When you finally arrive at the ridge of the breastbone on this opposite side, stop again.
  5. Lift the carcass frame and cut very closely against the ridge of the breastbone to free the carcass, but not to slit the thin skin covering the breastbone. Chop off the wings at the elbows, to leave just the upper wing bones attached.
  6. Arrange this mass of skin and flesh on a board, flesh side up. You will now see, protruding from the flesh, the pair of ball joints of the wings and of the two second joints.
  7. Scrape the meat from the bones of the wings and pull out the bones. Repeat for the second joints, severing them from the ball joints of the drumsticks; the drumstick bones may be left in place if you wish. Discard any bits of fat adhering to the flesh.
  8. Slice off the thickest layers of the breast and thigh meat, and cut into ⅜-inch cubes. Place them in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, cognac, pork, and the truffles and their juice, if using. Roll up the duck, place it in a bowl, and refrigerate.
  9. Add the pork and veal stuffing to the pork meat.
  10. Spread the boned duck on a board, skin-side down. Heap the stuffing in the center and shape it into a loaf. Bring the duck skin up over the loaf to enclose it completely.
  11. Sew it in place with a trussing needle and white string. Make 3 or 4 ties around the circumference of the duck to give it a cylindrical shape.
  12. In a large skillet, heat the oil until it is almost smoking. Brown the duck slowly on all sides. Remove and leave to cool.
  13. The trussing strings remain on the duck to hold its shape while baking.
ASSEMBLY
  1. Set the oven at 200 degrees. Have on hand a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Roll out ⅔ of the dough into a ⅛-inch thick oval. Lay it on the baking sheet. Place the duck on the oval, breast up. Bring the pastry up and around the duck, patting it into place. Roll out the remaining ⅓ of the dough to ⅛-inch thick. Cut it into an oval to fit over the top of the duck. Paint the edges of the bottom pastry oval with the beaten egg. Press the top oval in place. Flute or pinch the edges together to seal them.
  3. Using the remaining pastry, make circles or ovals with a 1½-inch cookie cutter. Press fan-shaped lines into them with the back of a knife. Paint the top pastry with beaten egg and press the pastry cut-outs over it in a decorative pattern. Paint with beaten egg.
  4. Make a ⅛-inch hole in the center of the pastry and insert a brown paper or foil funnel; this will allow steam to escape.
  5. Place the duck in the middle of the oven. Turn the oven heat down to 180 C degrees. Bake the duck for 2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted through the funnel registers 82 degrees C
  6. Remove the duck from the oven and leave to cool for several hours, then chill.
  7. Cut around the top crust just under the seam of the pastry oval. Lift off the oval carefully so as not to break it. The duck will have shrunk from the crust during baking, so you can lift it out of the bottom crust. Remove the circular trussing strings from around the duck, then cut and pull out the sewing strings underneath the duck. Put the duck back into the bottom crust and replace the top pastry oval. At the table, either remove the duck from the crust and carve it or cut straight down through the crust and through the duck, making crosswise slices of duck with crust.

 

Typing the recipe out it just as hard … T__T

 

5 Comments

5 Comments on I did it! Pate de canard en croute

  1. Sharon @ Feats of Feasts says:

    wah, dat is a long post and the recipe as well but super impressive swee san. And kudos for finally getting this post out. 🙂

  2. taufulou says:

    looks good eh~

  3. ulric5 says:

    Wowee….fabs! =)

  4. Kelly Siew says:

    Said this before but will say it again, what a job well done! I will leave the deboning to the pros because I have kinda a love hate relationship with my knife. Haha.

  5. Michelle says:

    I salute you in admiration!!!!!

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