And here we are for round two of my #PokeNOM recipes on The Gluttonous Geek!
Last week I took you on a romantic culinary trip to Paras. This week I’ll be cooking up another Pokémon: Farfetch’d! You’ll notice I have a little bit of a trend here. When it comes to pokémon, I like to think in terms of Charles Darwin and his famous Glutton’s Club where he and his naturalist friends would set out to dine on “birds and beasts which were before unknown to the human palate”. While some may think of pokémon as cute creatures that speak only their name and battle for gyms and candy, I also like see them as delicious snacks housed in hyper-dimensional bento balls.
The Farfetch’d, a rare pokémon, is a wild brown duck who fights off his enemies with a leek (or spring onion). Conversely, he also defends it with his life as he uses leeks as nesting material and an emergency food source. He is very particular about which of these tasty vegetables is worthy enough to wield as his own personal Excalibur.
The Pokedex says they cannot live without their leeks, but this pokémon is also rare because they are so darn tasty — especially with leeks. Pokémon fans even theorize that the inspiration behind this creature is the Japanese saying “Kamo ga negi wo shotte kuru”, translated to “A duck comes bearing green onions” – meaning “surprising, but convenient”. I have to agree. You’d think a creature trying to avoid extinction would be wise enough to not offer its predators side-dish suggestions?
So I decided to take the Farfetch’d on its word and make up some seared duck breast, then sear and caramelize some sliced leek in duck fat to go along with it. I then paired it with a rice cake also seared in duck fat, and the made a plum wine sauce thickened with a roux of duck fat and brown rice flour to slather on top.
The crazy thing is that you will have a ton of duck fat still left over after making this recipe. Do not toss it! Cooks call this stuff “liquid gold”, it’s so darn good. I intend to cook up some brussels sprouts in some with some orange zest sometime this week, actually. I know Chef Teddy over at Battle & Brew has also used it to make Poutine and Funnel Cakes. Do not, for the love of the culinary gods, pour this ingredient down the drain!
When you cut into this tasty morsel, it will be pinkish inside. This is perfectly acceptable and recommended. Duck is considered waterfowl, not poultry. Where birds like chicken or cornish game hen will make you sick if undercooked, duck is more like steak in nature. You don’t want to cook it all the way through or it’ll become tough and flavorless. Besides, how else will I get to show off the beautiful Damascus steel chef’s knife my husband made me for my birthday?
Now…shall we have some surprising, convenient, but far from far-fetched in taste Farfetch’d?
Seared Farfetch'd with Leeks & Plum Wine Sauce
Equipment: microwave, large oven-proof skillet, medium skillet, small saucepan, stovetop, oven, tongs.
- 4 duck breasts
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 1 large leek, white and light green parts sliced into 1/4-inch thick coins
- kosher salt
- duck fat
- plum wine
- 2 cups cooked long grain rice
- 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- duck fat
- duck fat
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons brown rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups plum wine
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Start making the rice cakes by heating a dish with the sugar, rice vinegar, and salt in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Place the rice in a mixing bowl and drizzle the vinegar mix over it. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Add the egg and flour and mix again. Form four patties with the rice and set aside.
- Lightly score the fat top of the duck breasts in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Heat the oven proof skillet on the stove top on medium. Place the duck breasts fat side down and let it render for about six minutes. Reserve 3/4 cup of duck fat in measuring cup or dish and drain most of the rest into a clean, sealable jar for future use. Sear on the other side for a minute.
- Turn the breasts back on the fat side and place the skillet in the oven to roast for another 7 minutes. Remove from the oven when finished and let duck rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes. Tent with foil to keep warm if you need more time to cook the other components. Drain the fat from the large skillet into the jar.
- While the duck is roasting, heat up 4 tablespoons of duck fat in the medium skillet. Carefully place each rice patty in the fat and press lightly with a spatula.When the patties browned and release easily, flip and brown the other side. Place a rice cake in each serving bowl and cover to keep warm.
- While the patties are cooking, heat the saucepan on another burner with 3 tablespoons of duck fat and whisk in the brown rice flour for the sauce. When the slurry thickens and bubbles, pour in the plum wine and other sauce ingredients. Whisk to mix thoroughly and reduce heat to low. Adjust soy sauce and sugar to taste.
- Heat the medium skillet up again with the remaining reserved duck fat (about 2-4 tablespoons). Add the leeks, a pinch of salt and pinch of sugar. Flip the leeks when they start to soften and brown on the other side. Add a splash or two of plum wine to deglaze the skillet and cook until the liquid has soaked up. Distribute the leeks among the serving bowls.
- Cut each duck breast along the grain and add to the bowls. Remove the sauce from heat and drizzle some on the duck. Serve.