I fell in love with French food during my trip to Paris, and I suddenly had this brilliant idea, which is totally unabashedly picked up from my favorite movie of all times Julie and Julia. As I sat watching the movie for the 100th time in my life and Mr. H walking in and commenting 'How many times will you watch it'. I was struck with a brilliant, I love food as much as Julie and Julia, both of them were stuck in a time of their life where they did not know who they were and what their purpose was, both of them had moved to a new city where their ambition was sort of lost same for me, it is like all three of us are in a tandem, I love FOOD, and when I am at my lowest I cook, it sort of gives me control over things that I am doing and pacifies me. So I thought if Julia saved herself with food, Julie saved herself by finding Julia then the two of them could surely save me and of course, let us not forget butter 'Lots and Lots of Butter'.
The only difference here possibly is that I already have a blog, so I am just going to start a new segment which will eventually become part of my endless writings, which I am not even sure anyone ever reads anymore. (No seriously Anyone?)
I started the French food journey by buying the first volume of the book 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' by the one and only Julia Child, I will buy the second as well when I finish at least half the recipes in this book. So Julia's instructions are very clear, the only problem is I do not have so many people to serve my food to so instead of a whole duck I used only two legs, the rest of the procedure was same, except I do not have a bulb so I used a spoon for basting and of course the sweet potatoes, because I wanted some color. I picked what for me was the easiest recipe. All you need is below along with the instructions and of course certain digressions from the original recipe.
Procedure What you need
Two pieces of duck leg (skin on, that is the best part of it)
Four sprigs of Fresh Parsley
2 Bay Leaves
Two Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Fistful of Basil Leaves
Turnips (I used one large which was enough for two people)
Sweet Potatoes (I used them, Julie does not so if you do not like them you cannot too)
Salt and Pepper
What you need to do:
Pre-heat the oven to 375 Degree Fahrenheit
Apply salt and pepper liberally on the duck legs and prick around a bit with a fork just to make sure the seasoning goes inside the pieces. I allowed the duck to sit like that for a while about half an hour, it was instinct as I wanted to make sure the salt and pepper went into the duck (Julie does not do it you can skip it too, but I must say the duck comes out very well seasoned if you just let it rest in the salt and pepper for a while). Now the browning part, dry the duck first with some absorbent paper, the duck has to be completely dried with no water for it to brown properly. Pour the fat (butter and oil) into a casserole (I used the Le Creuset because Julie used it) and heat the fat till the butter bubbles almost recede and it becomes hot, now place the duck skin down in the casserole and let it fry for 2-3 minutes till the duck becomes brown, then turn the duck to the other and repeat.
Pour out the fat, now take the herbs and put it inside the cheesecloth and tie it properly, place this pack of herbs on top and center of the duck pieces.
Now cover and place the casserole in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes to 40 minutes (the duck does not require basting).
As the duck is getting done, prepare the turnips. Boil them in the water on slow heat with salt in it for 5 minutes. I also boiled the sweet-potatoes at the same time.
Now after thirty minutes take the duck out and place the turnips and sweet potatoes around the duck (I also poured back the fat the I had initially poured out while browning the duck, over the turnips and sweet potatoes, Julia does not do it and you may not as well, me being me I hated wasting all that delicious fat) and put it back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Occasionally baste the turnips and duck with the duck fat. Now take the dish out of the oven, you can serve it on a hot plate, I just served it on a glass dish with the turnips serving a bed, the duck legs on top of it and surrounded by the sweet-potatoes and topped with basil leaves. I kept the sauce in the dish itself but you could take out the sauce pour it into a separate sauce boat.
Hope you try and enjoy this dish as much as I did, making and eating it. By the way, did I tell you it turned out absolutely delicious!