It started with the realisation that I’d spent half the day with my watch on upside down. And the secondary realisation that I had probably consulted it a few times since putting it on. These are moments when I feel lucky not to have the responsibility of taking care of pets and small children. I can easily imagine my morning starting with a dog in a diaper or a child frolicking in the garden on a leash.
I’m not generally a scatterbrain, but I’ve been abnormally distracted these past few days, because this week marks a milestone birthday – one that both petrifies and thrills me. And while a true lady never divulges her age, I can tell you that the week I was born, the number one country music hit in Canada was “Same Ole Me” by George Jones.
Did you really just look that up? Impressive. You win a big, fat plate of duck.
There’s something vaguely regal about duck. It’s got pomp. It’s got sass. And it’s the kind of thing I pick up when I’m feeling a bit posh. If I’m feeling EXTRA posh, I’ll also pick up a bottle of port to accompany my duck, in the spirit of “one splash for the pot, and one splash for me”. On birthdays, a dish of duck and port is a good way to highlight another year that has passed – and to usher in all the ones to come. *Cin cin*
Birthday Duck (serves 2)
- 2 duck legs (thighs)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup of port
- one carrot, diced
- one stalk of celery, diced
- one small onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- one bay leaf
- sea salt & black pepper
Heat the oven to 325°F. Put a cast-iron pan on the stove on medium-high heat. While that’s heating up, prepare your duck by patting it dry with paper towel and seasoning liberally with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. When the skillet is hot, place duck legs in the pan and sear for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place in an oven-proof casserole dish. Pour off most of the fat, leaving behind about a tablespoon in the pan.
With the pan on medium heat, add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Sauté a couple of minutes until softened, then add the port. Allow to reduce for about 5 minutes, then add the stock and bay leaf. Reduce again for about 10 minutes.
Pour the port mixture over the duck and cover loosely with foil. Allow to braise for 30-45 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure that there’s still braising liquid in the dish. The duck is ready when the meat can be easily pulled away from the bone.