Monday, December 24, 2012

Fantastic Berry Sauce

There is a local restaurant Solea . They make a roast duck leg and breast with a berry sauce that I LOVE. I sometimes have a hard time not licking it off of the plate. When I decided to learn to make duck I decided to make up my own version of this sauce as well. All of the people who have tried my sauce say that it's like Solea's only better. That may be because they love me but I honestly have to keep myself from drinking this stuff straight. :) Enjoy!

Berry sauce. 
1 cup of pom wonderful pomegranate juice 
3/4 cup of Pama pomegranate Liquor 
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar 
2 packages blackberries
2 packages raspberries 
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1T honey 

Combine the pomegranate juice, Pama, and Balsamic Vinegar. Let simmer for 5 minutes until a bit of the alcohol has cooked off. 

Add in the berries and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the blackberries are starting to break down. You can encourage the berries to break down by smushing them a little.
Once the berries have broken down, strain through a fine mesh sieve. Use a rubber spatula to get all of the pulp possible off of the berries. (Warning, this will take a little while and might hurt your wrist, if you can get a helper to relieve you for a couple of minutes do it!) Discard the seeds once you are certain you aren't going to get anything out of them. Then clean the sieve and strain one more time to make sure you haven't missed any seeds. Return to the original pan, again make sure there are no seeds in there. Set the heat to low to heat the sauce up. Add honey or lemon juice to taste, you want it to be tart enough that your mouth waters but still with a sweet edge to it. 

This makes a crapton of sauce, but it freezes really well so you can use it later, this stuff is great on duck, butternut squash, on top of a baked brie and I'm sure it has many other uses as well.

Butternut Squash Puree

This is a combination of my own original recipe and some advice I got from a chef at a food event. This swirled with my berry sauce is a beautiful addition to any holiday table and it's also delicious and pretty good for you for those of you looking for a side dish that won't pack on the extra pounds.

Butternut squash puree

2 butternut squash 
2 T olive oil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
2-3T honey 
3-4T light cream 
dash of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
Line a baking sheet with grill foil, or regular foil brushed with olive oil.
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Brush the flesh with olive oil. Place the squash halves skin side up on the baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until a fork can pierce the flesh easily. Let the squash cool until you can remove the skin. Place the flesh in a bowl and use an emersion blender to puree ( you can also use a blender, or Cuisinart). Once the puree is smooth, you can mix in the honey, cream, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg to taste. You want a nice rich puree with some character. 

Foolproof Roast Duck

Pic to come when I find it on my hard drive.

This year for Christmas I made a duck. Oh I've done it before, heck it's practically a specialty of mine at this point. But this year I made it on Christmas Eve for my in-laws and my husband. Just the four of us. It was lovely. I've made this recipe a bunch of times but I never write it down. So that's what I'm doing this time over the next few days you'll get the whole recipe complete with butternut squash puree and an approximation of the berry sauce I make which is good on meat and veggies alike. Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate, Happy Holidays to everyone else and a Happy New Year to all.

Foolproof Roast Duck
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary chopped
2T of salt
2T fresh ground pepper
a whole duck

Preheat oven to 425.
Rinse the duck with cold water inside and out. Use a pruning knife and your fingers to work your way between the skin and fat of the duck and the flesh of the duck, this will be a difficult and delicate procedure but totally worth it. Once you have a space between the duck flesh and the fat rub the flesh with salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary over the outside of the skin of the duck and use the remains of the spices to season the cavity of the duck. Use a paring knife to make shallow pricks everywhere but drumsticks. Don't forget the areas where the thighs join the body.  Use a light touch with paring knife to gently crosshatch skin's top layer on breast side to facilitate release of fat. Be careful not to cut all the way through skin into flesh. Place in roasting pan breast side up. Roast for 50 minutes. Remove duck from oven and Tilt duck to drain, pouring juices from cavity into roasting pan. Flip the duck using two forks, tongs or turkey lifters. Roast for another 50 minutes. Flip one last time and roast breast side up for another 40-50 minutes, if it looks done it probably is, you want it to be 165 degrees on a meat thermometer.