Thursday, January 12, 2006
During the Christmas Holidays, a Belgian "Love the animals or I’ll smash your brains in" organisation called Gaia campaigned against foie gras. As you all know, foie gras is made of duck livers that are made very rich and fatty by force feeding the ducks in question. They just stuff a tube in the ducks throat and open the valve until the animal almost bursts out of it seams. No chewing required.
So Gaia got in touch with their inner duck and launched a campaign to inform the public at large of these practices, with these posters. I thought they were hilarious, but some people were outraged by them and they even had to be removed in some parts of the country.
I can’t say they had much effect on me; I stuffed at least ten toast cups with foie gras in my throat during the New Year’s Eve party at my friend’s house. You won’t catch me buying the stuff; I’m not going to encourage this kind of behaviour towards animals. But if you put it in front of me, I won’t let it go bad either. That’s just me folks: displaying all the hypocrisy and spineless behaviour of modern 21st century consumerism.
So while all these duck livers are devoured by wealthy anti-ecologists, it’s a shame to let the rest go to waste, isn’t it? That is why I created this lovely recipe with duck’s breast and wok-fried vegetables.
Ingredients for two hungry people:
- Two not too large duck breasts (or one very large one), make it about 250-300g per person
- A courgette (zucchini)
- An onion
- A paprika
- A bag (some 300gr) of wok vegetables, or alternatively
- A carrot or two
- A bit of white cabbage
- Mung bean sprouts
- Any other vegetable you feel like throwing in
- Black pepper
- Soy-sesame sauce
- Olive oil or any other vegetable oil you like
First cut the onion, paprika, carrot, cabbage etc. into pieces. Make sure the broccoli pieces aren’t too small. Cut the courgette in half and then into large pieces.
Put a royal amount of cooking oil in the wok and when it’s hot, add the courgette. Sprinkle a nice pinch of salt and pepper on top and stir fry a couple of minutes until they are a nice golden brown, but not mushy. Take them out of the wok and put them aside in a bowl or a rubber boot or something.
Add some more oil in the wok and when it’s hot catapult the pieces of onion and paprika in there. Stir-fry-stir-fry-stir-fry and add your other vegetables, starting with the hard ones (carrot, cabbage).
When all is nicely stir-fried, tossle in the courgette again and move to part III, ‘Zhe finishing touch’.
Take the duck breasts and sprinkle both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Melt the margarine in a frying pan that you can cover with a lid. Make the pan nice and hot and when the margarine is molten and brown, put in the duck breasts with the meaty side down (meaning the white fatty side up). The hot pan should sear the meat closed, so it will remain nice and juicy.
After a minute or two, lower the heat and turn the duck breasts upside down, so that they’re lying on their fatty sides. Put the lid on the pan and let them bake on a medium fire for another eight minutes (about 10 minutes of total baking time).
The idea is to get the meat nice and brown on the inside, but still a bit rosy on the inside. This way, it will have a great taste and a juicy bite. If you slice it up and then throw it in the wok, you’ll get dry meat and loose a lot of that typical duck taste.
Zhe finishing touch:
Cut the duck breasts into slices of about half a centimetre thick. Throw them in the wok and mix with the rest of the dish
Add the soy-sesame sauce, exactly 120 ml will do the trick, or in my case half a bottle of Go-Tan Wok Essentials Soy-Sesame Sauce (no I’m not sponsored and I’m not a shareholder). Stir around again and leave for another minute or two.
Serve with rice, bami, mi or whatever you like. And please, don’t cry my name when you have that culinary orgasm in front of you significant other, I don’t want to be held responsible for any relational mayhem afterwards.