What's in a Civet? Part III
Today is the day. Civet de canard pour deux day. So far I have spent about 10 minutes preparing the marinade on the first day, braised the meat on the second day which took about 20 minutes actually in the kitchen but three hours in the oven, and then today, which is also another 40 minutes. If you have guests coming, prep everything before they arrive, and then you can spend more time with them as you finish.
- Remove the casserole from the refrigerator. Note that the fat has risen to the top and congealed there. Take a small spoon and remove the congealed fat. Defatting your civet de canard will make it more digestible and the sauce more silky at the end. Don't skip this step.
- Slowly heat the stew until all of the gelatinized parts have liquified, remove the duck and reserve. Using a chinois, strain the sauce into a bowl, and push down on the roasted vegetable to extract all of the juice. Transfer the sauce to a small saucepan, you should have about 2 1/2 cups. The vegetables in the chinois which have roasted with the duck should at this point take a bow and leave the stage. They will no longer play a role in this dish. (you decide what becomes of them...)
Return the casserole containing the sauce to the hot burner, and then pull it halfway off so that the heat only hits one side of the pan. This will allow any impurities circulate and rise to one area of the sauce as it boils. Skim the top regularly for 5 minutes. Your sauce should reduce in this time to about 2 cups.
- While your sauce is reducing, as you periodically skim the sauce, clean the rest of your cepes, cut them into rather large chunks and cut the quetsche plums in half. You can work up to this point in advance of your guests arriving.
- 20 minutes before serving time, heat up a little bit of duck fat or butter in a skillet over medium high heat and add the cepe mushrooms, tossing and pushing them around turning the edges brown until they soften and release their juice. This will take about 3 minutes.
- Press the plums, flesh side down, into the skillet in between the mushrooms. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to low, and let them cook without disturbing for about 5 minutes. (have a martini!)
- Place the duck legs onto the mushrooms and plums, and let them steam in the plum juice for 15 minutes over low heat. (in 15 minutes, you will serve this dish.)
- Heat up the sauce again to a simmer, and give it one last skim. With a hand blender, puree the duck liver with 1 tablespoon of Armagnac. Add a ladle of hot sauce to the liver, blend again, and repeat.
Transfer the duck liver/armagnac blend to the sauce. You want to heat it up without boiling it, because if it boils, the liver will coagulate and the sauce will seperate. Think of it as a sauce hollanaise. Very gentle heat and lots of stirring, take it off just as it begins to steam and thicken. Adjust seasoning and add salt only if necessary, remember, you braised the duck legs with cured ham, you most likely won't need any salt. Add lemon juice to brighten the flavor.
- Arrange mushrooms, plums, and duck legs on heated plates, nappe generously with the sauce, and serve immediately.
This dish is worth the wait for sure. People won't know what hit them.