Duck Finale

I have really taken a liking to old ways of doing things, and they all seem to share a common theme: long processes with a little bit of active work and a lot of waiting for time to do its part. Tonight I grilled dinner while smoking the duck bacon and cooking the confit in the oven. The dogs and I thought the back deck and house smelled heavenly… apparently we were the only ones that thought so. Maybe when Jordan gets back he’ll smell the smoker and come over the help share in the appreciation… If you are reading this, I miss you man!

Anyway… grilled herb pork chops and asparagus kept me well fed for the evening.


The duck bacon smoked for about 2 1/2 hours over pecan wood. If you haven’t used pecan wood or haven’t been to Memphis Barbecue Company, then you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Four skin on breasts magically transformed by salt and smoke into deliciousness…

IMG_3529The confit sat in the oven for 3 1/2 hours at 225°F and was finger picking tender. From the two ducks’ legs and wings, I packed a quart jar of boneless confit.



I’ll let that hang out for a couple weeks to get happy. Then the dilemma will be whether to go: (1) all trendy and have a duck confit salad with some spicy greens, blue cheese, dried fruit and a nice vinaigrette, or (2) all comfort food and have cassoulet and fried potatoes (the french version of Indiana’s ham n beans, fried potatoes and corn bread). Decisions, decisions…

Duck Night

Cerulean used to have a duck bacon appetizer and they’ve had duck bacon as a charcuterie item. Logan absolutely loved the duck bacon and asks about it every time we go to Cerulean. If you are reading this, then you know I’ve been making bacon at home for a few years now. Logan and I have been talking about making duck bacon at home for quite some time as well. For all the years that I’ve lived in Warsaw, I’ve never ventured up to the Maple Leaf Farms Store. Until this month. I went a little crazy… a couple duck down pillows, duck bacon wontons, rendered duck fat, duck bacon, and yes, two all natural ducks. I needed all natural in order to cure them (no commercial solutions or flavorings – just clean and frozen duck). A random Monday night seemed like as good a night as any to play with my newest foodstuffs.


This was similar to cutting up chicken only with thicker skin, more fat and a funny cartilage breast bone thingy… reminded me of a canoe bottom as I was envisioning the little critters floating on a lake before ending up on my cutting board.

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The giblets went to Jack… he likes duck sushi. The other two didn’t care for it. The breasts, legs and wings were for me.

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The breasts will go in a brine tonight to transform into bacon. Curing is to foodies as transubstantiation is to Catholics. Yes, I like bacon that much! The legs and wings got seasoned for confit. A little salt and thyme for the bed… I liked the flare from the track lighting…

IMG_3520 2And then seasoned more on top… with fresh thyme from the garden if you were curious… so worth the fresh herb aroma!

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Tomorrow I’ll smoke the bacon and cook the confit… stay tuned!


Marking Time

We all mark time in our own ways. For me, morels from the yard the first farmers and planting the garden are signs of spring and summer just around the corner. Two weekends ago was the garden and mushrooms. Hoping the new raised beds in a spot with morning sun will do better than the futile attempts at growing on a northwest facing slope.

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This past weekend was my first trip to the farmers market. Lynette’s eggs are a staple and I brought home leeks from Denney Farms and asparagus from Wise Farms. Besides the farmers market finds, I had duck bacon in the freezer from my first visit to the Maple Leaf Farms Stores. {side bar… Why do people typically use ‘farms’ instead of ‘farm’ in their names? Do they really have more than one farm?} I decided on asparagus soup and duck bacon and mushroom risotto.

The asparagus soup used both the Wise Farms asparagus and the Denney Farms leeks. I added in some of the maitake mushroom I found and dried last fall along with a homemade light beef broth. I made garlic chips and saved a few mushroom pieces and asparagus tips for presentation. After it was all said and done, it needed a fair amount of salt and needed more garlic in the soup rather than just the garlic chips. So I salted the left overs and added a bit of garlic powder. And next time I think I’ll use a little less broth and add a bit more cream… Cerulean is a tough act to follow…


The risotto featured the Maple Leaf Farms duck bacon. This duck bacon is a chopped and formed style of bacon. {side bar… stay tuned for a future post on house cured whole breast duck bacon} The Denney Farms leeks started the risotto which was cooked in the same light beef broth I used for the soup. I added chanterelle mushrooms and diced duck bacon for extra flavor. Being a carnivore, there was more bacon than risotto but I kept the plating modest for the photo…


In addition to marking time with edibles, the wildflowers and ferns also help to mark time in the spring.

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Next up… Duck bacon, duck confit and rendering duck fat.