Duck Breast Sous-Vide with Duck Red Wine Demi-Glace

After yesterday’s post about duck stock, it won’t come as a surprise that today’s post features duck. I love duck meat and this duck breast with a demi-glace sauce made from duck stock and red wine was particularly nice. It also won’t be a surprise what my next post will be about, as the side dish (a butternut squash tartlet) will have a post of its own.

Now there is more to this dish than just the use of duck stock to make a demi glace (which in the modern form is just duck stock reduced until it is thick and syrupy and loaded with duck flavor). You see, I took a bit of a risk when I cooked the duck breast and duck skin separately and glued them together with Activa, and then called this ‘Perfect’ duck breast. Grant from An American Baker in London left a comment saying that he had seen something similar on Masterchef, but with the duck skin cooked sous-vide rather than in the oven to render the fat out of it before gluing it to the duck breast. The advantage of cooking the duck skin sous-vide would be avoiding shrinkage. Cooking the skin sous-vide sounded like music to my ears, and I quickly forgot that my previous version was perhaps not as perfect as I had thought it was. Continue reading “Duck Breast Sous-Vide with Duck Red Wine Demi-Glace”

Improved Octopus Carpaccio using Transglutaminase

Octopus cooked sous-vide is very flavorful and tender, and sliced thinly as carpaccio is a great way of serving it. Last year I prepared octopus carpaccio, but the slices fell apart. I tried adding gelatin and that didn’t help. Then I decided next time I would try to use a ‘meat glue’ enzyme called transglutaminase. I didn’t get around to doing that, and then I forgot about it until the succesful experiment I performed with Activa and duck breast. I prepared it exactly the same way, except that I added 2% transglutaminase by weight. And guess what? It worked! Perfect slices that didn’t fall apart. Continue reading “Improved Octopus Carpaccio using Transglutaminase”

Perfect Duck Breast Using Transglutaminase

I always thought it was impossible to prepare a perfect duck breast. Duck breast consists of two parts: the skin and the meat. To be perfect, the skin should be crispy with most of the fat rendered out of it, and the meat should be medium rare. Both at the same time seemed to be impossible, as the meat overcooks while you are rendering the fat from the skin. Even experimenting didn’t help to solve this conundrum.

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But then I thought of Transglutaminase, an enzyme that is sold mixed with maltodextrin and sodium caseinate under the name of Activa RM and is also known as ‘meat glue’. Why not take the skin off the meat, cook skin and meat separately, and then glue them back together again? Teun had some Activa and so I went over to his place to try this. And guess what? It worked! Crispy skin and meat that was uniformly medium rare all the way up to the skin. (Unfortunately I only took photos with my iPhone in bad lighting conditions. I will prepare duck breast this way again and then take good photos and post a proper recipe.) Continue reading “Perfect Duck Breast Using Transglutaminase”