As we approach the festive season there are many special dishes that will be served. In France duck liver is one of these dishes. I have a naturally-fed duck liver mousse in the shop, the texture is smooth and creamy with plenty of flavour. Duck liver is traditionally served with toasted Brioches (see Recipe 44) or Pain d’Épice (spiced bread) and Confit d’Oignons a sweet onion jam. For our gourmet lunch this week I served a starter with the duck liver as a base, topped with sliced fresh figs from Israel, toasted brioches, confit d’oignons and small squares of jelly made from Pineau des Charentes. This delicious liqueur was created in the Charentes by adding unfermented grape juice to Cognac. I am trying to source some here but no luck so far, the nearest French substitute is a Sauternes, a sweet Bordeaux wine. We paired my starter with a local wine, Sweet Carolyn, from Vondeling which was amazing. Here are my easy recipes for the Jelly and the Confiture d’Oignons which I based on an onion jam recipe that I found on the site of www.ricardocuisine.com (a rather cute Canadian TV chef)
Ingredients for complete dish
- 50g Duck liver mousse per guest from the French Market shop
- Fresh Figs – 1 per guest
- Micro leaf salad (from Woollies)
- Hazelnut oil from the French Market shop
- 1 small Brioche per guest ( see recipe 44)
- Fleur du Sel de Guerande
I recommend serving with a chilled bottle of Sauternes from Bordeaux (sometimes) at the French Market shop or a Sweet Carolyn wine from Vondeling.
Ingredients Confit d’Oignons
- 8 Shallotts (French onions)
- 50g butter
- 140g sugar
- 60ml Red wine vinegar from the French Market shop
- 375 ml red wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions Confit d’Oignons:
- Peel and slice the shallotts finely
- Cut butter into chunks and melt in a heavy based saucepan
- Add the onions and cook gently until soft for about 10 minutes
- Add sugar and vinegar and cook for 10 minutes
- Add the red wine and cook over a low heat for an hour and a quarter, stirring from time to time, until all the liquid has evaporated and you will be left with a thick onion paste
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Spoon into a glass jar, cover and allow to cool. Store in fridge until required
Ingredients: Gelee de Pineau des Charentes
- 3.5 teaspoons powdered gelatine (from Woollies) (or Maggi powdered gelee au Madere)
- 300ml water
- 1 veal stock cube ( don’t use if you have the Madera gelee)
- 200ml Pineau des Charentes (or a sweet fortified wine such as Sweet Carolyn from Vondeling)
Directions for Gelee de Pineau des Charentes:
- Dissolve the stock cube in some boiling water.
- In a heavy based saucepan add the rest of the water, the Pineau des Charentes and the powdered gelatine and mix together then add the dissolved veal stock. Stir well and gently bring to the boil.
- Once it starts to bubble remove from the heat and stir again.
- Leave to cool at room temperature.
- Line a long, shallow container with cling wrap (it makes it easier to remove jelly in one pices once it is set).
- Once mixture is cool, pour into container so that thickness is about depth of 2 cm. leave to chill for 4 hours.
- Turn out of container and remove the plastic wrap.
- Cut the jelly into small blocks and keep chilled until required.
Directions to assemble entire dish:
- Cut brioches in half and toast lightly (they burn quickly so be careful)
- Slice fresh figs horizontally in thin slices.
- Slice the duck liver mouse into approximately 50g servings.
- On each plate place a slice of the mousse.
- Top the mousse with slices of figs.
- Spoon some confit d’Oignons on the side of the plate. Put the rest of the confit into a bowl to serve at the table.
- Decorate the plate with cubes of Gelee
- Add a little baby leaf salad drizzeld with hazelniut oil on the side
- Add a small trait (a tiny line) of fleur du Sel on the plate
I recommend serving with a glass of chilled Sauternes from the French Market shop (s.q.) or a glass of chilled Sweet Carolyn fortified wine from Vondeling.