Sunday, December 25, 2011

Elg Tartare

Yes i know, Steak Tartar isn't a very Christmasy dish. Not really a winter dish either but since I got hold of a very nice minced raw moose-meat the other day i decided to try this recipe. I am French and with 6 months in Oslo behind me, i have developed a fascination for norwegian food. Many people might have bad associations with this cuisine (if they have one at all) but the truth is that when it comes to game meat (any animal hunted in the wild, and not domesticated) Norway will impress.
Moose or elk ("Elg") is a very tender meat, almost like beef but with a stronger flavour. It also has high protein levels and low fat content. I find it delicious and since i had to leave for Paris to celebrate christmas i made this dish as a last taste of Norway the night before i left.
You can do a lot with minced elk meat but i chose to make a tartar since i really like the raw natural flavor.

This is what you need for 1 person:
  • 200gr of minced Moose Meat
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 tomato / 1 salad / 1/4 onion / capers
  • Oil / Balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt / Pepper

A sauce will make the tartar more interesting and a balsamic reduction is perfect since it will not dominate and drown the taste of the meat. 
To do so, put 1/4 dl balsamic vinegar into a saucepan set on a low temp control and add 2 spoons of water. When the vinegar is warm, add 3 tea spoons of Mirabelle jelly and mix until the jelly has melted down (it only takes a few seconds). Then, you'll just need to leave it until the solution reduce, which is a more textured sauce than the liquid version you have to start with.
While the reduction is cooking itself, you can get the tartar ready. Lay a bed of tomato, salad and a little bit of onions on your plate and just pour some of your usual vinaigrette on top. The minced meat is hand-mixed with some olive oil, 2 or 3 pinches of flaked salt and a bit of pepper. Then you use with your fingers to shape it. 
The egg yolk is carefully placed on top (this is optional. If you're not a fan of raw eggs you can just leave that out) 
With a small pinch of salt, the reduction laid of the way you prefer and a quick turn of the pepper-mill your dish is done.

Enjoy the nordic taste! :)
Bon appétit!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Confit de canard au duo de Pommes

Oslo is getting colder every day and the perfect place to get cosy during Christmas time is in the kitchen. This is my first blog post, and since my girlfriend is my number one food critic, it had to be her favorite dish.
A nice Duck Confit with apples and potatoes sauté is always a great visual and tasteful success. This one comes from the South-West of France, not far from my hometown and is really delicious. The company "Reflets de France" sells products from small producers from all over France with both high quality and individuality. Look them up if you need inspiration!

Back to the recipe now.
For this Duck Confit (2 pers.), you will need:
  • 2 duck legs confit
  • 1 apple (the crunchier, the better)
  • 6 Amandine potatoes
  • Pepper
Let's start :)
When you buy Duck Confit, it is preserved in a lot of grease inside the box which might be the most delicious ingredient to cook with, therefore you put it aside.
The first thing you need to do is to peel the potatoes, cut them in 5mm slices and put them in a kitchen rag. Then put the two legs confit in a pan on low temp control as they just need to be reheated in the grease until the meat easily loosen from the bone. Add some of the grease so the bottom of the pan is covered (about 4mm).
While the meat is in the pan, start heating some more grease in another pan on medium temp control and drop the sliced potatoes in to have them "sauté".  Keep an eye on them all the time and keep stirring!

The duck legs must be cooked with the skin down the majority of the time (without burning it) and be careful so the meat doesn't end up dry. It has to melt in your mouth when served. To avoid this, use a soup spoon to pour the heated grease onto the meat. Repeat regularly while you also look after the potatoes.

As soon as the skin looks crispy and the meat is warm, lay it on a plate with some of the grease from the pan and store it in the oven set on 50°c so it doesn't get cold or dry. Slice the apple and drop them in the pan that was used for the duck. This will still contain some the grease that didn't go in the oven with the duck. Set on medium temp control.

By now your potatoes should be crispy and have a beautiful color. Just let them rest on a very low temp control, to keep the little crisp, and focus on your apple slices. They will be ready very quickly, just about 5 minutes. You want to soften them up on the outside but keep the crunchiness inside. When they too reach the golden color they're ready to be served.
Of course while doing this, do not forget to tend regularly to the duck (keep using the spoon to soak it in the grease). 

When you're ready to serve, lay the potatoes "sauté" in the middle of the plate. Then add the apples around them and finally let the Duck rest on the top. Since the grease is already salty you do not need to add salt. The sweetness of the apples gives a lovely balance to this dish and lightens it up a lot! But you can sprinkle a little bit of pepper around for the presentation's sake.
A good wine-tip could for example be a red Côte du Rhone which is perfect with duck, or as I chose, a red Italian wine; Barbera d'Asti.

Bon appétit!