It's that time of year again. Down on the farm, the preservation of meat products is a major priority.
When I first moved to France, the preservation of Pork and Duck products started around mid-October. These days farmyards are empty, so we all buy from either local butchers or supermarkets.
The fattening (force-feeding) of Ducks does not only lead to foie gras, although it is that particular product that usually attracts the most attention.
Of the other products, our favourites are fresh magret (breast), and tinned confit (either upper thighs or legs preserved in fat).
During the foie gras season, once the livers have been removed, the rest of the complete fattened carcasses are often sold either for preserving or roasting. Stripped carcasses can also be bought in most shops; these are also roasted, picked over, and used for the making of stock.
Tubs of pure Duck fat are sold, as are grattons de canard, which are France's answer to Pork scratchings. Long thin strips of tender aiguiettes (think Pork tenderloin; but from a Duck) are also sold separately at a hefty price.
Every bit of the Duck has its use, the necks are sold for stuffing as cou farci, and the gizzards and hearts are sold by the kilo to be made into 'snacks'.
I know that the preparation of the birds is controversial, and is often seen as cruel. In fact most birds form queues to receive their daily doses of feeding, and show no signs of distress.
We eat all these products; they are traditional delicacies from the South West of France where we live. They are not everyday foods; more for High days, Birthdays, Christmas, etc.
I have eaten (non-fattened) Gressingham Duck breast in the UK which was very good; possibly even more tender than our local ones here. The one above we ate last night, and it was excellent.
A friend of my husband just gifted us a dozen duck eggs. I've never eaten duck eggs and I feel a little weird about it. What do you think?ReplyDelete
They are delicious. Have them 'fried on toast'.Delete
Jennifer, duck eggs are excellent in baking.Delete
So are goose eggs. Collecting them is the problem.Delete
Yes, we've had Geese, I know what you mean!Delete
It seems strange to force feed ducks if they feel hungry enough to queue for food.ReplyDelete
It's only by force feeding that the livers swell, and become foie gras; but they don't dislike it.Delete
Yay !!! I can comment !!!ReplyDelete
Duck isn’t top of my list when I choose food but I do like it. Foie Gras is our daughters favourite.
We had gizzards at Mont -Saint-Michel in a tiny restaurant .... they were delicious.
... and Jennifer, duck eggs are pretty much like chicken eggs ... just bigger and a bit richer. We sometimes have quails eggs and people say oooo what are they like ? Same as chicken eggs but smaller !!!!! Sorry I haven’t been able to comment Cro ..... hopefully it won’t go wrong on me again but I’m not holding my breath !!! XXXX
Good to hear you're back in the land of BLOG-COMMENTING. I was beginning to worry about you. I love roast Duck, but rarely have it as there's so little on them... same with Goose.Delete
how lucky you are. No such things here.ReplyDelete
It's very traditional food of S W France. When we first moved here, we were amazed, how all these wonderful dishes had never made to over to the UK.Delete
I have only had duck once in my life (that I'm aware of). I didn't care for it. It seemed to be a lot greasier than the chicken or turkey. Which made me interested when you spoke of duck fat being rendered. I'm going to guess that mine was cooked wrong.ReplyDelete
It's all a matter of taste. Jack Spratt would eat no fat, etc. I just happen to love all that fatty meat.Delete
Aw no Cro, can't be doing with all that duck fat and foie gras...think of your arteries!ReplyDelete
I permanently have a big bowl of Duck fat in the fridge. I even use it in place of butter, on occasions. Duck fat on toast with Marmite.... yum.Delete
I do miss Salade de Gesiers and Confit. And quite a few others things too!ReplyDelete
A good salad de gesiers is wonderful. Just never mention the word 'Gizzards'.Delete
I did have duck a couple of times but found it greasy. My stomach has become too sensitive for eating many foods now.ReplyDelete
I think that's the side of it that I like; the fattiness.Delete
Thanks to this gory blogpost I have just barfed all over my laptop and I am currently looking at the monitor screen through a haze of projectile vomit. Poor little ducks!ReplyDelete
Ducksome Smucksome. They willingly offer themselves at the altar of gastronomy, for the greater good of mankind.Delete
Yorkshire Pudding unless you are a vegan you are a hypocrite. What do you think happens to male chicks and male calves?Delete
Gressingham duck and venison are amongst my favourite meats although, these days, I eat very little red meat.ReplyDelete
I remember well the Gressingham Duck breast I had. It was noticeably more tender than the ones here, and was excellent.Delete
Oo, delicious! The tasty tidbits of life in France.ReplyDelete
Just one of the delights that makes life so pleasant here.Delete
I've tried duck in a US French restaurant owned by a Parisian. It was served in an orange sauce. The duck was very lean (bone thin) and greasy. I have not ordered duck again.ReplyDelete
Anyone who can ruin a nice piece of Duck, should be shot.Delete
I heartily approve of using all of the bird - no waste!ReplyDelete
I'm an omnivore and have loved Fois gras the few times I've had it. I will occasionally treat myself to a duck breast for supper or I can slice it over salad and make it last for two meals.
I can get tinned duck confit - but not my favourite and duck fat and eggs are now available in most good supermarkets here - there is nothing better for roasting potatoes than duck fat! YUM!