Sunday, February 10, 2008

Quack, quack, another duck!!

On our way to Sunnemo, Terje and I agreed to cook a good meal for their parents. We stopped in Töcksfors, and found that cooking duck breast would be the best idea. My brother calls me the biggest enemy of all ducks. I bear no grudge to the members of the duck family, but love to cook this succulent meat. We needed a starter, and what better to make, than soup made from Jerusalem Artichoke.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with black truffles
(Serves 6)

Jerusalem Artichoke is the root of a species of the Sunflower family, native to North America. It has a dark brown to purple colour, and a sweet, nutty taste.

You need:
1 kilo / 2 lbs Jerusalem Artichoke, peeled and chopped
1,5 liters / 2,7 pints water
3 cubes of vegetable stock
1-2 teaspoons sugar
15 centiliters / 5 fluid oz double cream
Truffle oil / or 30 grams (1 oz) black truffles, chopped

I discovered how marvelous these roots are for soups, as I ordered Jerusalem Artichoke soup with truffle oil at Poppes in Arendal. After this great experience, I have regularly made this treat for myself.

Terje and I bought two packages of around 500 grams (1 lbs) each. We peeled them and cut them into smaller pieces. Then we added the chopped Jerusalem Artichoke to 1,5 liters (2,7 pints) of water, added 3 cubes of vegetable stock and a little sugar.

Allow the stock to simmer to soften the artichokes, then use a blender to create a light and smooth soup. Then add double cream for richness and taste.

Terje and I had bought black truffles in Barcelona in June, and brought one glass for this soup. We poured the juice in the soup and chopped the two small truffles finely and added the black flakes to the light creamy sauce.

I have had great success with truffle oil on my soup, and the pungent taste and aroma enhance the taste of this soup. The black Spanish truffles were, however, a disappointment, and I would prefer the truffle oil to the real thing.

Duck Breast with cherry sauce

I have already told you how to make a good duck breast. We were six for dinner and 1 1/2 duck had donated their breasts for our dinner.

They were prepared in an iron pan, and placed in the oven. Cherries and duck is a classic combination. We found ready made cherry sauce, and added red wine and duck fat and reduced.

As I always prepare duck in a dry pan, I was afraid to overcook them. I am glad to say that the three breasts were cooked to perfection. The duck was served with rösti potatoes and lightly steamed mange-tout! Yum!!

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