Friday, January 24, 2014

"Dirty" Rice and Duck

"Dirty" Rice with Pancetta, Dried Fruit and Parsley

Last Sunday I experimented on Tom and David.  I cooked while they watched football playoffs ---as a treat for them---the same way Laddie did it for us at the bunkhouse a few weeks ago.

The meal was duck breast, asparagus, and a "dirty" rice that was really pretty good!!  The rice combination was my idea, and the others came from Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan's cookbook.

Pancetta was better in the rice than on the asparagus

I've cooked duck breast two times using Dori Greenspan's recommended technique, which is to basically pan fry it in a dutch oven, but I had read that the French start their pans cold to render the fat of the duck, so that's what I did this time and it was much better, I thought.

But the rice was the best thing of the experiments!

"Dirty" Rice with Pancetta, Dried Fruit and Parsley

2 ounces of pancetta, finely cubed, browned and removed to cool and drain
mix of dried fruit, about 1/4 - 1/3 cup, dried apricots, cherries, plums or your choice
1 Spanish onion, roughly chopped
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cups water
olive oil
salt and pepper
lots of fresh chopped parsley, about 1/2 cup or more
I chopped up leftover holiday dried fruit -- a few dried apricots, dried cherries, and dried plums (prunes).  And put them in bottom of the serving bowl for the rice.

Then I chopped up a Spanish onion, and sauteed it in olive oil and a pinch of salt until they started to turn golden brown  --- this is what makes the rice "dirty".  (Use a pan with a lid big enough for cooking the rice.)

Then I removed the onions and added them on top of the chopped dried fruit. (The residual heat helps to soften the dried fruit.)
Next, I added the rice (1 cup) and toasted it in the pan with the brown bits from the onions for a minute,
then added the water (1 3/4 cups) and 1/4 T. salt.  And cooked per the package directions. (Bring to a boil, stir once, cover and lower the heat to simmer for 15 minutes plus 5-10 to rest with the heat off and still covered.)
Meanwhile, I chopped up a whole bunch of fresh parsley with the stems removed.
Once the rice is done and has rested, fluff it with a fork.  Pour it over the onions and fruit.  Add the parsley.
Fluff and fold all of the ingredients in the bowl until evenly distributed.

But here's what I recommend next time:  Add the pancetta to the rice and skip putting it on the asparagus.  It was so great in the rice!  Salty, crunchy. A great addition.

Saute 2 ounces of cubed pancetta in a skillet. Then remove the browned cubes to a paper towel to drain and cool off.

Add these pancetta bits to the rice when you add the parsley and mix together.

To make the duck breast they way I modified Dorie's technique, preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
Have your duck breast at room temperature, and score it in a cross hatch fashion, being careful to cut through the big layer of fat, but not into the meat.  Salt and pepper all sides well.
Use a heavy cast iron enamel pot to minimize splatters.  Place the duck in the pan, fat side down, and turn on the heat to med high.  (Don't move the duck even though you will be tempted.)  Cook for 12 minutes -- or until you see that the fat has cooked off and browned nicely.  Turn it over and cook for 5 minutes longer.  (In her recipe, she preheats the pot, then cooks the duck breast for 8 and turns it over for 3)
Turn off the heat, remove the duck to a cooking sheet, prepared with a big piece of aluminum foil.
Loosely wrap it and place it in the oven for 5 minutes to rest and finish cooking.

Make a sauce with 1 T. honey, the juice of a lime or a lemon, 2 T. balsamic vinegar, and 2-3 T of juice/fat.
Slice it and pour the sauce over it.
Serve with a nice salad, the dirty rice, and asparagus.


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