I honestly and truly admire people who are always ready for unplanned guests, or family visits with their freezers filled with precooked or ready-to-cook delicious bites. And not only that they are ready but in next 20 minutes, after hot dishes are already on the table, they instantly receive bragging rights to be the best cooks/entertainers or party hosts in their circle of friends and family. I’m not one of them. I need a little bit more… 2 hours at least and that fridge was recently (read that morning) filled with all the good stuff. Fridge is dangerously getting empty considering growing children, and growing husband and me (around the equator) during next 24 hours so the amounts of food at the cashier desk has already evaporated by the time I have formed the dinner menu. I love the shop in Ljubljana where a lot of ingredients are French with “wow” table effect. But I often misjudge the quantity, and considering “evaporating” or “x files” factor, I have to improvise and creativity goes to another level. I went to have a cup of macchiato with friends, word by word and i have invited them in the afternoon for dinner. Six grown ups, three teenagers and two toddlers. Fridge inventory: shitake and porcini mushrooms, duck dark meat 40 dkg. Children are fans of my bread rolls and cheese and charcoutery, but they also like ravioli (never made the same ravioli twice, but not praising my culinary creativity, but always the problem of finding the time and space continuum with the same ingredients. So I try to kick up the notch and go out of the comfort zone and play little unsafe game. And I do like to through an oven glove to the face of the good cooks. And two of my friends are excellent cooks.
So duck will get help from the mushrooms, and play the filling for ravioli. But instead of the pasta dough, my bread dough a little softer though, will imitate ravioli. Feeding th lot is not really the only goal I have, I love to see a sparkle in peoples eyes seated around our table when a platter, or plates arrive filled with delicious dishes, not only, oh yes! I managed to feed a whole lot of people with a drumstick, a potatoe and two peas.
Those two can cook, broil pan sear any kind of meat, so I have to really dig deep to provoke that sparkle. I’ve been told that the sauce is the chef or in my case home cook signature. The solid peace of meat, fish poultry, falafel, chickpea burger can be elevated by the well balanced and harmonized, precise and safe, wild and on the edge, or buried in muddy, oily, blunt and undefined liquid. And I’ve been there on both sides. Gravy is almost always in my freezer. (Nothing is ALWAYS in my freezer). I’m trying to made a new one when only one small container is left. I often bake duck lasagna. Now there is a good recipe how to feed a whole department with one duck. And you get to save the gravy for later autographed dishes because the meat goes to ragu, fat waits for the date with potatoes. And if you add plenty of veggies, the taste is unforgettable.
So I start to brown the duck dark meat, remove it from the pan, put inside 10 dkg pancetta, render it on the medium heat, add chopped onions, add chopped mashrooms and rehydrated porcini mushrooms or chopped fresh ones. Add salt and pepper. Reunite the meat with all other ingredients in the pan. While mixing I couldn’t help noticing all the tasty bits sticking to the pan… so for the deglazing….no, not the wine but orange liquor was used, splash or two to clean up the pan… and a little sip for cleansing the palate and another for curing the sore throat with vitamin C…
The liquid has reduced and the filling is ready. In another pan I heat up the gravy adding little bit of sauce, yes, red wine, dry marjoram, oregano and red chilly just to flavor the gravy, Corn starch is for thickening , salt and pepper and I ‘m done. I don’t dare to add some more flavors.
Bread dough has doubled in size, I knead it and punch it to squeeze any air out of it. I helped myself with rolling pin to thin it down 0,5 cm, filled it on one half of the circle and cover it with other half. Pinch the ends, press it with fork, squeeze it, the fiilling is not allowed to go out. Put it on the baking pan with baking paper, brush it with egg wash and bake it at 180 C until golden (in my oven 25 min).