Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How to Bone a Duck Neck

rue Lanterne, Lyon 1e

Browsing through the French Saveur recipes, I noticed one that looked like it will be pretty cheap to do. Cous de canard farcis au risotto de roquette. Since cous de canard are about 70 centimes per kilo at the volailler, I knew immediately that this dish would fall in my budget. The first ingredient was:

4 cous de canard desosses (4 deboned duck necks.)

Since I am a complete moron and have absolutely no idea how to bone a duck neck, I went to eGullet to enquire with the experts.

I will prepare this recipe, because it looks like it might be a very good one.

From eGullet and cookbooks on my own shelf, I am getting lots of good info on how to cook a duck neck. I've learned that instead of actually removing the bones from the meat, what they mean by désosser is to remove the skin from the neck and use it as a casing for something braised or confit inside.

Around the corner from the Dubernet Foie gras shop next to La Bourse, Lyon 2eme

Actually the French traditionally stuff goose necks with various sausage stuffings and aromatics and slowly cook them immersed in duck fat. The tradition way to cook them is either to put them up for storage like cuisses de canard confit, or bake the resulting inner loaf in brioche to create a kind of pate. But the French are not the only ones to use poultry necks in cooking.

Various traditional Jewish recipes like helzel, where a chicken neck is stuffed with dumpling dough and added to chicken soup. It sounds so delicious!

There are recipes call for a starchy filler of some kind to absorb the flavor and are cooked in less fat, basting instead of immersing. These are sliced and served crispy skin and all. Time to get to work.

How to Bone a Duck Neck

Yummy cakes at Charcuterie Chorliet, rue Plat, Lyon 2eme

- Don't try and singe any remaining small down from the necks by using a candle. The wax creates black smoke that sticks to the skin and stains it. I lost a duck neck that way, used it as practice. I found that you can pluck the last remaining down with tweezers quite nicely. Do not parboil them. They will shrivel and shrink immediately.

- Begin at the big end. The inside is attached to the skin with filmy clear connective tissue that snips easily with scissors. Snip off any outer bones. On one side, there will be a cluster of fatty material and glands that are attached to the inside of the skin of the neck and are best snipped carefully between that and the skin.

- On the other side, the esophagus tube is attached to the inner muscular shaft and the skin. Clip only the skin side only, leaving the tube attached to the shaft, and fold the skin back all around, little by little, snipping carefully all around, until you have exposed enough of the inner shaft to hold it firmy.

- Take the inner part in one hand, the outer part in the other, and pull firmly but not too forcefully, and release the inner part from the skin. It turns inside out and you just pull it off.

- Turn it back to the right side out and pull off any down or quills that were missed by the volailler. Get them all. Choose carefully when you buy to avoid too much work afterwards. Voila. These are ready.

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Anonymous faustianbargain said...

it's just the skin of the gooseneck. when i got chicken necks, i'd use the chicken neck skin for the humans and reserve the rest of the neck contents for the cats.

the cats didnt care much for the chicken neck stuffing.

9:27 PM, October 25, 2006  
Anonymous faustianbargain said...

err..i meant i used the chicken with skin + stuffing for humans and the necks for the cats. nm.


9:30 PM, October 25, 2006  
Anonymous connie said...

usually i read your posts and try to learn from them. I confess I'm kind of half-shutting my eyes right now. I'm usually not all that squimish when it comes to food, but this vegetarian draws the line at duck necks i guess

1:22 AM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Faustianbargain, glad to hear you enjoy cookign poultry necks. The meat from these necks will go into soup.

Dear Connie, I am sorry that you can't appreciate this particular dish. Frech food includes many things that have either dissapeared from or never made the mainstream in America. Many people from different backgrounds and nationalities share a love for dishes based on poultry necks. My thought is, why not cook them at home?

3:03 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger wheresmymind said... are a moron because you don't know how to bone a duck neck! *eyes roll* get outta here you crazy must be drinkin' too much of that great French wine as you are so not a moron!! lol

4:54 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

Well, I just figured if the readers of French Saveurs are supposed to know, then I'm a moron! I went ahead and learned anyway!

5:31 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger L Vanel said...

There I made the picture smaller, I hope that makes Connie feel a bit better.

5:36 PM, October 26, 2006  
Blogger Katie said...

Alright, I'll get out my French Saveur (actually, it's sitting on my chair at the moment - rainy weather has inspired cookbook serches) and think about trying this. You make it sound so easy and, after living in Europe for 10 years, most of my American squeamishness has, um, flown the coop!?! It no longer bothers me to finish plucking the chickens or pull bloody feathers off of the eggs....

5:17 PM, October 27, 2006  

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