After working with our home-made sous vide rig for a few weeks now, we have finally made a small upgrade to our kitchen. We found a 'controller' on eBay for about $100. This wonderful little device works in conjunction with our crock-pot by overriding the built in temperature control of the crock-pot providing us with a wide range of programmable constant temperatures to choose from.
Sous Vide Marinade
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
1/4 Teaspoon sugar
1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 Teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Before cooking the duck we removed the skins and set them aside. We seasoned the breasts prior to cooking with dried cranberries, sugar, salt and pepper. The duck was cooked at 130 degrees fahrenheit for 8 hours. While the duck was cooking the skin was cooked under a bacon press in a medium sauce pan on a low heat until all of the fat had rendered out. Duck fat is way to expensive at the store to let any go to waste, so all but 2 tablespoons was saved in the freezer. The remaining 2 tablespoons were set aside for later use with brussel sprouts.
Orange Cranberry Sauce
1 Cup orange juice
1/4 Cup dried cranberries
1 Teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
Mix all of the ingredients in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Cook the mixture on medium high for several minutes, or until the orange juice has taken on much of the color from the cranberries. Remove the mixture from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Puree and strain the mixture. Set the sauce aside until the duck is ready.
To go with the duck we had brussel sprouts sauteed in the reserved duck fat with mashed potatoes. This is the dish that made me change my mind about brussel sprouts once and for all. The sprouts are somewhat time consuming, in that we peel the individual whole leaves off before cooking. Sautee the leaves in the duck fat on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes. Salt to taste and serve.
For the potatoes we tried something a little bit different. The potatoes were cubed and boiled in a mixture of milk, butter, salt and pepper. You only need enough milk to cover the potatoes and about 1 tablespoon of butter. Cook the potatoes until they are fork tender. Strain the potatoes, reserving some of the milk mixture, and mash. While you are mashing the potatoes add a dollop of sour cream and as much milk as you need to make the potatoes creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.
While the whole meal was delicious, the duck was the obvious star of the show. The orange cranberry sauce was amazing with the duck and also mixed well with the potatoes. We used dried cranberries from Trader Joe's but i'm sure that any dried cranberries will do the trick. As far as the sous vide goes, I am not yet convinced that the duck needs to cook for the whole eight hours, but am also not yet experienced to know for sure.