Duck is on my mind. Every since I bought some smoked duck breasts at the Made In France warehouse sale, the goal has been to eat-this-duck-now. The duck breast is chewy and rich, with a decadently fatty mouth feel. While Oscar set about cleaning our bathroom late one night, I scurried around the kitchen. I listened to him spray, run water and scrub (Atta boy!) while I set about chopping. He popped his head out of the bathroom fifteen minutes later, and said, "What is that delicious smell? Ooh, wow!" his eyes lit up when he saw the duck on the cutting board.
For his bathroom slave efforts, I made duck in a sherry vinegar sauce with mushrooms, rice, and carrots. The first step is to set about cooking two cups of long grain or other rice. Keep the rice covered over medium heat and let it cook until at least five minutes have passed. Next, clean up four carrots, cutting them into 1/4 inch chunks. Into the steamer basket and Le Creuset 3 1/2 quart pot they go, with a sprinkling of salt before covering and steaming.
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms and 1 bay leaf go into a pan of hot melted duck fat. Let them brown while setting about slicing the duck breast. Taste the mushrooms and add salt and pepper to taste. Once the carrots are finished (watch that steam when removing the lid, yeow!), put them in a bowl and cover with a plate, to keep warm. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of sherry vinegar and the duck breast into the mushrooms. Stir occasionally.
For rice, fruit and nuts add that great combo of sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy when paired with savory duck. Add 1/2 cup raisins and diced apricots to the rice and stir. Let the rice finish cooking, turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup chopped pecans. Chopped glazed or raw pecans, pistachios, or walnuts would also work, but I just used raw pecans. Add them to the rice and stir, letting the rice-fruit-nut flavors meld.
Season everything with salt and pepper (taste to see how much it needs), and pour everything into the Le Creuset, and stir. The rice will have a purplish tint from the sherry vinegar, and the carrots and fruit add color. Another way to serve could be to not combine all the ingredients into one pot. Plate the rice first, fan the duck breast, and arrange three carrots in front of the duck. You won't hear any complaints regardless of which option you choose.