Thursday, 29 March 2012

Right, it's going to kick off.

I was watching a youtube video of Grant Achatz of Alinea in Chicago, doing an El Bulli inspired tasting menu.

And it all looked fantastic.

So, I watched another.

And it all started going a bit wonky.

The chef's came out into the restaurant, rolled out a mat on the table, and started putting food on it.

Pudding, I think it was.

So, after behaving like a chimp at a tea party, they let the guests tuck in. Can't really see that sort of behaviour taking off in Derby, but here is my own El Bulli inspired dinner.

Served in Shottle.

It's been said that all you should leave behind when preparing a duck is it's quack.

And I agree.

So, I'm starting by making my sofrito.
It's a basic Spanish preparation that uses garlic paste, onions, tomato passata, herbs and olive oil.

Great to have some in the fridge, it will give a real umami boost to certain dishes.

Crushed garlic is sweated down, then lots of onions go in, picked thyme, more olive oil and a pinch of sugar. Easy.

Right, so that can cook down, until just golden and I'm going to push on with the duck.

I've got a whole one, so I can use all of it on two different dishes.

I'm actually in the process of trying to come up with a mini tasting menu, using one chicken, and serving it in four courses. But that's another story.

So, the duck has been dispatched. I've taken off the legs and boned them out, removed the wishbone, scored the skin, but left the breasts on the bone, as this will keep them moist and stop them shrinking, and chopped up the bones for my stock. The heart will be fried, and eaten, as a chef's treat.

Right the onions are ready, Malcolm McLaren's "Double Dutch" is playing and the wine has been opened.

So a packet of passata goes in and that can be left now, to cook, uncovered until it's all nice and thick and jammy.

I've browned off the chopped duck bones, added the onion trimmings and a glass of white wine to make a duck stock. This will be used to cook the rice. You see, I'm going to use all of the duck.

The duck's heart is at the bottom left of the chopping board, by the way.

Now, because I was thinking ahead, I left some of the crushed garlic in my bowl, all I need to do is add some chopped parsley, olive oil and toasted chopped hazelnuts. But I don't have any, so I used some almonds instead. It's funny but it sounds like a Spanish pesto to me.
Wonder which came first?
This will be mixed into the rice later.
See, all about the mise en place.

So the chopped up, boned, duck legs are being browned off now.

Listen, it's going to spit hot fat everywhere, but that is good.
It's show's the pan is hot enough, and I want to really caramelise those duck legs because they will impart a delicious roasted flavour to the dish.

So moving on to the main course, I've peeled a couple of oranges.

I thought this made perfect sense, as duck goes very well with oranges, and remember this blog is all about El Bulli

So, the oranges are sliced, sprinkled with thyme flowers, Maldon sea salt, olive oil and honey.

It would be nice as a little pudding with some dark chocolate and pistachios, and a sorbet.

And, it wouldn't be too bad with some nice fatty, fried confit pork belly.

But, I digress.

I mean, have you seen how nice it is out there, it's like I'm in Spain at the moment.
Except there are no riots going on at the moment in Shottle.

Although the bongo's haven't arrived yet!

Ok, back to the duck legs now.

I've added a couple of spoonfuls of the sofrito, and I'm going to let that reduce down with the duck legs.

And now it all going to get a bit hairy.

Bomba paella rice is added to the duck legs, and the hot duck stock is poured in.

Right, that's it.

I can relax.

Well, sort of.

This is not a risotto, so I don't need to worry about stirring it. In fact the slightly caramelised bits on the bottom of the pan are a delight!

So, now I'm nicely relaxed I can start worrying about the rest of the duck. A nice hot pan is required, and I've salted the duck as well.

You really need to brown the duck in a pan, to render the fat, and as I'm only going to roast the duck for 10 minutes, it will not get enough colour in the oven without some help from me.


Looking good eh?

The nice thing about this dinner is if the timings right, and everything peaks at the same time, it's really easy to sit down together and enjoy it.

And, that's the whole point of dinner.

So, the rice has absorbed all of the stock, and all I'm going to do is stir in a couple off spoonfuls of picada, that's the parsley and almond paste,  and we're off!

First course sorted.

And it's superb.

And now for the breasts.

As you can see, by roasting on the bone, and leaving it to rest, the flesh is nice and pink and juicy and rare and a perfect rich foil to the sweet honeyed orange slices.

So, there you are.

Dinner, inspired by the worlds best ever restaurant.

And we even used plates.

Right, that's it.

Some of the first English asparagus and Jersey Royals are coming over tomorrow, so that's my Sunday lunch sorted.

Wonder what they would be like in a sandwich?

Perhaps I'll have a  think about it.

Simon's song choice tonight - Dr Feelgood (Groove Junkies Rockin'Dub)

Oh, and this time the pictures look a little less wobbly!

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