If you haven’t figured it out yet, duck is big in these parts. I have no statistics proving that duck is the most-consumed meat in southwest France, but I wouldn’t bet against it. And in fact, it’s not only delicious but readily available, and therefore pretty cheap.
Consider Saturday’s lunch (that would be yesterday). We had driven to Belvès, yet another of the Dordogne’s “one of the most beautiful villages in France,” for a comforting and comfortable lunch at Le Home, a small hotel near the centre of Belvès with a very nice dining room. Nothing fancy, but with surprisingly good food at pretty reasonable prices. (Notice: This is an official Radio Free Daglan recommendation.) And we both ordered the confit of duck — a duck leg that’s been cooked slowly in duck fat (to preserve it as well as cook it), and then roasted to crisp up the skin.
Talk about a decorated plate! This one was a bit over the top, even for Le Home (I mean, strawberries? a strawberry sauce swirl?). But give them an E for effort. The plate included a small pot of mushroom sauce, a leek with a sprig of thyme emerging from the top, a cooked carrot, various bits of fruit, a small pot of ratatouille, and more — including some absolutely delicious and crispy chunks of potato. Here it is:
And because duck is good in virtually all its forms, we had duck again for dinner — but this time, it was foie gras (a fattened liver) of duck. In this case, the most amazing thing was the price, because we had bought the foie at a supermarket in Sarlat for the insanely low price of less than 10 euros for more than half a kilogram.
In case you’re wondering what to do with a whole foie, here’s the scoop. First, cut off a few slices, maybe half an inch or three quarters of an inch thick. Meanwhile, take something like fig preserves (for us, ours was a gift from one of our neighbours who has fig trees in her garden) and heat up a few spoonfuls in a small pan with some 10-year-old Argmagnac, to create a sauce. Then, cut a small brioche roll in half and toast it. Now heat up a non-stick fry pan until it’s quite hot, and gently lay in the slices of foie, letting them sear for not much more than 30 seconds before turning them and searing the other side. Lay the brioche toasts on a plate, set the seared foie gras slices on top, and spoon over some of the fig-and-Armagnac sauce. Serve with a lettuce and walnut salad (sorry about the walnuts, Cynthia), tossed with a Dijon mustard and honey vinaigrette.
Not super-elegant, but definitely delicious. Have a look!