Monday, March 1, 2010

Quack au Vin

I am in the enviable position of having a husband who works mostly from home. In practical terms this means sleeping in most mornings, having cups of tea in bed with the little girl in between us, and lunch together most days. Unfortunately this also means that he has to be in Brisbane most weeks for a day or two. This is hard. The Little Girl and I really miss him, and we're generally both just a tiny bit off until he comes home.

On the plus side, it means I have duck for dinner. The Fabulous Man thinks he is one of those people who doesn't like duck. I'm sure he'll realise his mistake soon, but in the meantime I'm on my own. Me, I adore duck. I'll be happy if somebody tells me that for the rest of my life I'm only allowed to have duck (and chocolate). My little brother, a qualified lawyer who is now master coffee roaster for an organic coffee company in South Africa, is the same. We used to have competitions at home to see who could come up with the best duck recipe (he always won, but someday I'll have my revenge).

So, whenever the Fabulous Man is working hard in Brisbane, and it's us girls home alone, I pull out some duck from the freezer. I try different things, but this one is a classic: onions, pancetta, red wine, mushrooms (which I didn't have tonight), duck breast and polenta. I'm sure duck on the bone will taste better, but it's the breasts I have in the freezer, plus they cook much quicker, so that's what I'm working with. To be honest, it's not a real recipe. I don't give exact measurements, as it mostly depends on how much of everything I have on hand. But whatever you put in this dish, it always turns out delicious. The red wine reduces to a beautiful rich sauce, and together with the onions and pancetta is just the perfect background for the duck. The perfect comforting dish to keep me happy until the Fabulous Man comes home.

Quack au Vin (or Duck for a lonely wife)
Serves 1, but easily adaptable for more

Heat some olive oil in a pan until hot, and fry the duck breast until brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and keep warm. Fry one chopped onion in the same pan until soft. Add a handful of chopped pancetta, and fry for a couple more minutes. Add some chopped mushrooms, cook until soft. It may be necessary to add more oil. Return the duck to the pan, and add about one to two cups of red wine. Cover the pan, and cook until the wine is reduced and the duck is cooked, about 10-15 minutes. Removed the duck from the wine and let it rest before serving.

Serve with some polenta, or whatever you have in the cupboard.


  1. What a lovely post! How nice to have those moments with your Fab Hub and Gorgeous Daugther. Enjoy them while you can. The duck looks very good too.

  2. Haha I loved the title of this and I too am a duck lover. it would be sublime instead of chicken in this dish and so warming-like a hug from a plate which is good when he is away :)

  3. He he..the fab husb really misses alot! It sounds absolutely delicious and being a duck lover as well as having a fab husb who is also a duck lover, I will take this to the table soon! And a real fun title, yes!

  4. Heather: Thanks, I know I'm a lucky girl having him around.

    Lorraine: I love your "hug from a plate"! Isn't it true? No matter how grumpy I am, I always feel better after a good meal.

    Thank you Ronelle. You're lucky to have a husband who share your tastes. I hope you enjoy this.

  5. OMG that looks good! Can't believe there are people out there who don't like duck - I absolutely love it in every conceivable form!