Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 337 - Winter Squash Puree

Oh boy, I'm eating well today! Lunch started with a Poached Chicken and Lemon + Olive Relish appetizer (yum) and then a Macaroni and Cheese main course. Is it possible that it's even better the next day? OMG...

Now, for dinner, I'm cooking up some things that are about to expire in my fridge: a package of butternut squash chunks and that last duck confit leg.

Winter Squash Puree (p. 311)

This recipe is the height of fast, easy, and delicious. Boil water, add salt and chunks of squash, simmer 10-15 minutes, drain and dry in hot pan for a couple of minutes. Then puree with butter. (Martha says to use a blender, but that never works for me so I did it in a food processor.) Add salt and pepper. Serve.

Whole journey? Not even a half hour. Which makes this a perfect side dish for a thrown-together meal. But there's nothing thrown together about the end result.

Creamy, sweet, salty, smooth, rich, comforting, satisfying, colorful. And elegant, to boot. I'll bet this would even taste great without the butter....

Jeff: A
Martha: A

As for that duck confit leg, it was the first one I ate on its own. (The other five served as ingredients in a pasta filling and cassoulet.) The flavor is absolutely amazing. And the meat is nice and tender. But I have not had success with reheating these. It's not a big deal when you're removing the skin and putting it into another dish, but this one was out in the open, and it wasn't cute.

Martha says that 10 minutes in a low heat heavy pan, covered, with another five minutes on the flip side, will crisp the skin, but I haven't gotten anywhere near crispy skin. I've tried cooking them uncovered, I've tried draining the accumulated oil, I've tried leaving the accumulated oil, I've tried turning up the temperature a little, I've tried cooking them for three times that long, all with no success. I don't want to fry the hell out of it, but I would like to know how to prepare a perfect, crispy duck confit leg with skin intact. Any ideas?

Until we eat again....


  1. Jeff, I don't (never been brave enough to confit yet), but Mr. Love does:
    I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to take an oven to crisp it up.
    Check it out and see what you think!

  2. Hey Michael-

    Of course, I should have thought to google. This technique makes sense. First of all, the resting for 30 minutes is probably a good idea. And the oven finish probably seals the deal. Thanks for finding it. I will definitely try this if I ever make duck confit again.

    By the way, it doesn't take courage to make confit. It just takes a few days of salt and a boatload of duck fat.

  3. Mmmm, duckfat.

    Jeff, thanks for giving me another quickie side dish to add to my arsenal. <3

  4. 幸福是人人都要,又怎麼可能都歸你所有?要知道這世界幸福本來就不多........................................

  5. Hey Dawn- I actually hesitated before I threw away those ten tons of duck fat, but then I had a talk with myself and I admitted that I'd never use it...

    As for 睡衣,