The Duck Has Landed!

Usually it’s wine that arrives for twitter tastings.

But this time it was DUCK!

Because when I was invited to participate in a twitter tasting for DUCK #BWEChat #discoverduck I said HECK YEAH!

Because DUCK!

1/2 Roasted Duck
2 Duck Breasts
Duck Bacon

What? DUCK BACON??? Did you even know there was such a thing??

So yeah, DUCK arrived from Maple Leaf Farms via FedEx. In a big white box. With dry ice seeping out and scaring the cat. Seriously freakin funny. Sorry there’s no video. We were laughing too hard!

If you are still reading then I bet you are a duck fan and you should definitely join us on Mon. Feb. 9 at 5pm PST for #BWEChat –a  Twitter DUCK tasting in anticipation of the Boston Wine Expo Maple Leaf Farms booth where they will have duck samples. YUM!

The Boston Wine Expo is an annual event, celebrating wine, food, and culture from the greatest wine-growing regions of the world February 14-15, 2015 at the Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA. During the chat we will talk about cooking with duck and some of our favorite dishes, pairing ideas, etc.

 Mon. Feb. 9 3pm PST: Follow #BWEChat #discoverduck #bacon #duckbacon @BostonWineExpo  @MapleLeafFarms @hopefamilywines

During the #BWEChat, watch for giveaways to participants including tickets to the Boston Wine Expo, discount codes for the Boston Wine Expo, and possibly discount codes for Maple Leaf Farms too. Did someone say DUCK??

Usually in a twitter tasting we open the item and taste. Usually it’s wine but I’ve also done Brownie Brittle (yum!) and chocolate (yum!). These are easy to handle for a twitter tasting. Easy to open.

Duck, however, requires preparation. Fortunately, they don’t expect us to cook while we are tweeting, so  we are free to play with our food in advance.

And yes we did want to play! I sent my husband, the guy who usually cooks the meat in our house (and brilliantly I might add) to the Maple Leaf Farms website and he found a duck breast recipe there that caught his attention: sautéed Duck Breasts with Apricot-Szechuan Peppercorn Sauce by Sara Moulton.

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It was REALLY easy. 

Seriously cooking this duck was easy for my husband –once I found the apricot preserves for my husband he was set. We have a really large iron skillet which I think is key. He got that puppy SMOKING hot, and laid those breasts fat side down which made them crisp up so beautifully, and yet they were a lovely pink color on the inside.

Because my husband loves to cook meat, he was on the duck breasts and all I had to do was figure out the sides and the wine! I used new baby potatoes, white and red, and cooked them in an iron skillet in coconut oil, garlic, and rosemary. We steamed brocoli and orange colored cauliflower from the farmers market plus a salad of field greens, feta, walnuts, and golden beets with a simple citrus champagne vinaigrette.

Choosing the wine was the hardest part (that and getting our son to set the table and help!) The go to wine for duck for most people is Pinot noir but as I’m a fan of Rhone wines with duck I considered the Hope Family Wines Liberty School 2009 Cuvee which is a blend of 85% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Sirah, 3% Grenache, 2% Viognier and sells for $15.

In choosing a wine for duck the key factor is how it is being prepared and served. With the apricot peppercorn sauce, I could go with a riesling or other white wine as well as a lighter, acidic red.


Because it was open, I also tasted the duck breast prepared this way with Treana, a blend of 50% Marsanne and 50% Viognier. Nice. Very nice. From our notes:

Treana 2012 50% Marsanne, 50% viognier: Golden color, syrupy looking, thick. Tastes like nectar, honeysuckle, pleasantly balanced fruit/sweet, white stone fruit, crisp, pineapple, with lots of minerality, and a complex, clean finish. We could see when we tasted it that it would go well with Asian food, smoked salmon, trout, salad, arugula, roast chicken with rosemary, blue cheese.

Because we were celebrating the 5th anniversary of my husband breaking his neck, I was inclined to go with a Twisted Oak River of Skulls. But because I had been rearranging some of the bottles in my cellar, I came across a Michel-Schlumberger Wine Estate Coteaux Sauvages which means “wild Hills” in French and refers to the “Nearly wild hills” that produce these grapes. The primary block of syrah vines is on the edge of the forest, almost a part of the forest. Only 12 barrels were produced of this wine which was co-fermented with Viognier in the Traditional Northern Rhone Style and blended with Petit Sirah. The grapes were hand sorted with a whole cluster fermentation.

Tempting. So tempting I opened it. While 10 years old, this wine still had plenty of pizzazz. And it paired fabulously with the duck. Lots of blueberry fruit but also plenty of acid, lots of spunk to cut through the fattiness of the duck yet plenty of fruit to handle the apricot. So so good.

If you’ve never cooked with duck before, no worries. Check out the recipes and cooking tips on Maple Leaf Farms’ website, and join us in the chat. If you’re in the Boston area,  stop by their booth at the Boston Wine Expo February 14-15 for a taste, and visit the chef’s demonstrations each day on the Maple Leaf Farms stage, including Sara Moulton (we used her recipe); she will be preparing her Bistro Duck Breasts.

Read more about this duck twitter tasting here:

Please note: I received duck from Maple Leaf Farms and wine samples from Hope Family Wine as part of this promotion

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