The duck soup saga — Day One

Now that we’re well and truly into autumn, it’s time for duck soup. My wife Jan makes an excellent duck soup, and we’ll often have a bowl of it for dinner, since we usually have our larger meals at lunch time. We certainly don’t have to travel far to find the right ingredients, because the Greater Daglan Area (the GDA) is right in the heart of duck and goose country.

Today I’ll start the saga of duck soup, beginning with our trip to the market. On Day Two, I’ll show how Jan cuts up the duck to make the stock. And on Day Three, we’ll see her finishing up the soup, first de-fatting the stock and then cooking it with vegetables.

To begin, we start with a visit to one of the local markets. Usually we buy our duck at Tuesday’s weekly market in neighbouring Cénac. But this time, we were at Sarlat’s Wednesday market because we were doing some other shopping in the town. Here’s a look at one of the vegetable stalls, which I’m including simply because the tree behind the stall is doing such a nice job of showing off its fall colours:

Market in Sarlat

A colourful corner in Sarlat.

Just a few feet away, across a little street, is the trailer where we buy our duck pieces for soup. Although this was in Sarlat, it’s actually the same trailer that sits at one end of the Cénac market each Tuesday. It’s loaded up with duck and geese products, including patés and lots more goodies, and it’s a big one:

Duck trailer - long view

Now this is a long, long trailer.

Here’s a closer look at the stall and its offerings:

Closer view of duck trailer

There's lots of variety among the poultry products.

The main thing we’re after for Jan’s duck soup are two carcasses — the more-or-less stripped bones of the duck, and the key to making a tasty stock. To add more meat to her soup, she also cooks a duck cuisse (a whole leg, including the thigh) along with the bones of the two carcasses. Here’s the sign at the stall, showing that a carcasse costs just one euro and 60 cents:

Duck carcass sign

Here's what we're looking for.

On the day we were shopping for duck, it turned out that the seller had just two carcasses left, so we bought both (since two are needed for a large pot of soup). Here they are:

Duck bones

The last two duck carcasses -- and they're ours!

Once we got these home, they went straight into the fridge — ready for the chopping block the next day. And in my next posting, we’ll see how the chopping gets done.

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