Duck has to be one of my favourite meats, it's rich, dark, moist and tasty. According to Saint McGee, this richness is down to the the duck's abundant "myoglobin-rich" muscle fibres, a necessity when you need to fly hundreds of miles on the trot. It certainly puts the lazy old chicken to shame.
When out on the town, I can be almost guaranteed to choose duck confit if available, and I really miss the mouth-wateringly crispy Peking Duck that I ate on a regular basis in Hong Kong. However, it's January, and that means not only joining the gym, but replacing crispy skin with veggies and hot, fragrant, metabolism-boosting spiciness.
I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Good Food website. It's one of those slow-cooking, go-and-watch-the-TV-whilst-it-cooks type recipes. It's a new staple of mine and regularly crops up as weekday comfort food.
Thai duck and green bean curry - serves 2
2 duck breasts, without skin
3 tbsp green Thai curry paste
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar, if you don't have it)
400ml can coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
3 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
100g (1/2 bag) green beans, trimmed and chopped in half
350g bag of fresh bean sprouts
1 red chilli, chopped finely
A handful of chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
1. Fry the duck breasts until they are browned and most of the fat has rendered off. Make sure you use a saute pan or saucepan as it will need to be deep enough to take the liquid ingredients later. Remove to the chopping board and let cool slightly. I usually pour the rendered fat into a jar and save it for other cooking purposes. Like goose fat, it's great for roasties!
2. In the meantime, fry the curry paste and sugar for 1-2 mins in the same pan.
3. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and lime leaves. Bring to a simmer.
4. Slice the duck breasts into bite size pieces, then add to the simmering coconut milk mixture.
5. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour.
6. Add the green beans and cook for 10 more minutes. Season with fish sauce and/or palm sugar as necessary.
7. Stir through the bean sprouts and chilli. Cook for 2 more minutes, then serve with shredded coriander and a big heap of steaming jasmine rice.
And now I'm off to the gym to see if I can improve my abundance of myoglobin-rich red muscle fibres. I think I'm more of a chicken though!