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November 14, 2012

Duck Soup

We fancied a ready meal and Sainsbury's offered us a whole crispy aromatic duck with pancakes and hoisin sauce for £9, which is only slightly more than they sell a duck for. It proved to be a bit of a bargain; as well as feeding us that night, I scraped enough duck off the carcass to make my son a duck wrap (using the last solitary sad tortilla) for a packed lunch, and the very last scrapings of duck and the end of the hoisin will go into special fried rice. The duck was provided in a really sturdy foil tray, ideally suited to packing up a pasta bake for the freezer. And that left the carcass, which got boiled up for stock.

I often plan my runs so that they end up in the market. This time I was looking for cavolo nero but ended up with some very lovely spring greens. I have a deep-seated conviction that winter soups are improved by greens, the darker the better. I googled 'kale soup' and turned up many recipes for caldo verde; a happy chance as I also had a big sack of potatoes and some leftover chorizo. I was much taken by the Hairy Bikers' recipe, which starts you off by drinking a small glass of port, but in fact I think Nigel Slater is more on the mark, with his suggestion that this is food for when there is precious little in the store cupboard.

This Portuguese website says helpfully 'it's not kale. The green cabbage you want is the one known as 'spring greens' in England. Splendid, because that's what I've got; I can see that it would be hard to cut kale as finely as is recommended for caldo verde. Even more reading persuaded me that it's not even spring greens, it's collard greens or walking stick cabbage. But spring greens are fine; I used the outside leaves of two big heads, keeping the sweet insides for another day. And I cut them very fine.

Slater warns against over-fussing with this soup, which slightly worrys me because my normal way with soup is to sling in everything in the fridge. But I stole one of his suggestions; as this was a main course soup, I added tiny pasta (adorable concligliette) like I do with minestrone. I doubled the quantities other than the chorizo, and I fried up the chorizo separately (and first, so that I could use the bucket of fat it released to cook the onions and garlic in). The duck stock was thick and rich and this soup was delicious. It generated five main course portions, but only because I made everyone stop eating so that we could have rhubarb crumble for pudding. So. Serves four.

Oh, and have some Groucho:


Posted by Alison Scott at November 14, 2012 09:55 AM


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