Thu. Jan 17th, 2019

A Cheap and Cheerful Port

In 1998 my sister gave me a “Bishops’ Bountiful” cookbook from New Orleans. I must admit that from a scratch cook I find many of the recipes a bit imbued with pre-fabricated American ingredients. The best of the lot is a wild duck recipe coupled with a Mandarin orange sauce which we at home have called Duck L’Orange. Served over Basmati rice it is a trip into culinary heaven.

It calls for Port in the preparation of the duck. I often use a low-cost Ruby Port in the recipe. In this case as New Year’s Day calls for a duck I crack open a Kopke Fine Ruby Port. However as matters sometimes progress the recipe was changed a bit where the Port was no longer needed.

A Port melds into a duck like a Barolo  melds into an Osso Bucco or a Bordeaux into a Beef Bourginon.

This Kopke Fine Ruby Port has a rip snorting nose of blackberry and blueberry with cranberry on steroid treatment. Ultra rich notes on the nose. On the palate somewhat undeveloped notes of blackberry and black cherry. A junior Port which at its price really delivers over its price point. It just can’t deliver on the palate like a Late Bottled Vintage Port or a Vintage Port but nonetheless hints what is available at a higher Port level.

(Kopke Fine Ruby Port, Sogevinus Fine Wines, Villa Nova de Gaia, Portugal, $15.55, 19.5%, 750 mL, LCBO # 35766, Set The Bar Rating 87/100).

For you chefs out there when cooking a beef bourginon or osso Bucco consider replacing a Pinot Noir for the former and a Barolo for the latter with this humble Fine Ruby Porto. You may well be surprised by the results.

Forget cooking with Port as it can be enjoyed on its own or creamy cheeses particularly a Boursin with cranberry.

Now for the duck recipe with Mandarin orange sauce which I guarantee you’ll use again and again as I have been using it for twenty years! This is taken from “The Bishop’s Bounty Cookbook” in the Honour of The Most Reverend Charles Pascal Greco the Supreme Chaplain of the Louisiana Knights of Columbus of Louisiana from 1961 until his death in 1987. His parishioners contributed their personal recipes to create the cookbook.

The Duck

One fresh or thawed frozen duck.

Butcher into legs and quarter the breast.

One onion.

One cup Port.

One chopped apple.

Four stalks of celery.

One cup chicken stock.

½ cup melted butter.

Cover and bake for 2-3 hours at 350 degrees depending on size of the duck.

The Mandarin Orange Sauce

1 cup sugar.

Half cup of butter.

½ cup frozen orange juice concentrate.

3 tablespoons lemon juice.

Grated rind of one orange.

¼ cup Grand Marnier.

3 cups mashed oranges or clementines.

Serve the duck over Basmati rice and pour sauce to your liking over the duck and rice.

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