January 02, 2006

The Remains of the Bird

Part of the ritual of Christmas dinner is dealing gracefully with the leftovers. While I am no stranger to turkey soup (and quite a fan, I assure you), I seldom find myself in possession of a turkey carcass these days - even at Christmas and Thanksgiving. This is the benefit/detriment of being the one doing the travelling on the holidays.

My extended family gets together on Boxing Day, and that's the day of Turkey. For just the two of us, Christmas day has become the day of Any Other Bird (and once, a ham), although I did do a classic roast turkey the year that we hosted the Boxing Day dinner, and one year I made a braised, stuffed turkey breast roulade with cider gravy from Eating Well magazine. We've had duck, goose (twice), Cornish Game Hen, Pheasant, chicken (that first year, before we actually started dating), and the aforementioned ham (done Alton Brown city ham style, and boy! Delicious!).

This year, we returned to the duck. I employed last year's new knowledge regarding fatty game birds, and plunged the little darling into boiling water for a minute to kick-start the rendering process, and a heckuva lot of fat was rendered into the roasting pan, at the end of it. Enough that I'm seriously attempting my own duck confit - purely for the education process, you understand.

Your average duckling is supposedly food for two to four people, so we had rather a lot of meat leftover. At first, the possibilities seemed kind of endless, but we finally settled on a two-with-one-stone. The duck meat was divested from the bones, which were then simmered into a thick broth, which was put on standby for Duck with Wild Mushroom Risotto. I looked to my classic Wild Mushroom Risotto recipe for guidance, and added the chopped duck meat just before returning the mushrooms to the pan. We were very, very happy with the results.

There's still rather a lot of duck stock in my freezer - I've since used all of the meat, but I'm sure that I will find a use for it. There's always, after all, duck soup. Easy, right?


Anonymous said...
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Dawna said...

Oh goody, personalized ads. Look, Anonymous, I'm not impressed. Every time I mention risotto you're going to pop up with this ad?