Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.


Duck Rilette

Appetizer, Meats, Lunch, Poultry, SnacksTove Balle-PedersenComment
Duck Rilette

Duck Rilette

I live in Silicon Valley, and right now the biggest thing is Super Bowl 50. Everyone is talking about all thing Super Bowl. The Venues, the concerts, the parties, the fan-experiences, the celebrities and off course the food. Most popular must be wings and guacamole, but I wanted something different. Still going for the salty and meaty, I choose a duck rilette, served on toasted baguette slices. A perfect finger-food paring well with a cold beer.

I hope you all will enjoy your Super Bowl parties, weather you are there for the game, the halftime show or the food.


  • 4 duck legs, I got the legs from Grimaud Farms
  • duck fat, enough to cover the legs completely, I used little over 1 lb
  • 1 bay leave
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1-1¼ teaspoon salt (you want to use 1 teaspoon salt pr 350 g meat)


Place the duck legs, thyme and bay leave in a pot, pour in the duck fat to cover. Let the duck simmer for about 4 hours, until the meat pulls apart from the bones. Let the duck and fat cool, so you can handle the duck with your hands. 

Wash your hands thoroughly and/or use gloves. Pull the meat from the bones, discarding ALL bones and skin. Weigh the meat, to calculate how much salt you need for the seasoning.  You want to use about 1 teaspoon salt pr 350 g meat. 

Put the meat into the bowl of a stand mixer. Season the pulled meat with the salt. Using the paddle beat the meat for about a minute. Add some of the duck fat, you want to saturate the meat, so when squeezing the fat will slowly drip from the meat. You are looking for at paté consistency.  If not using immediately, spoon rilette into clean jars rinsed with a bit of vodka. Cover the rilette with reserved fat from the duck confit. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Serve the rilette on thin slices of toasted baguette, and top it of with a cornichon. 


Mortens And - Roasted Duck

Christmas, Dinner, Holiday, Meats, Sides, Vegetables, PoultryTove Balle-Pedersen2 Comments
Duck roasting - from the oven cam.

Duck roasting - from the oven cam.

Mortensaften - is celebrated on November 10th. 

The tradition that Danes and some parts of Germans eat duck on this night, dates back to before 1616. 

The story tells us that a monk called Martin or Morten in Denmark was forced to become a bishop, but he didn't want the job, so he hid in a pasture filled with geese. Not the smartest place, cause the geese honked and  Morten was revealed. As the tail goes Morten Bisp, now bishop ordered everyone to eat geese on November 10th as a punishment for the geese for ratting him out. 

Over time people switched to eating ducks, maybe because of the smaller size. 

The traditional way is to serve the duck with caramelized potatoes, pickled red cabbage and gravy, kinda the same way as the traditional christmas dinner/pork roast. To change things up, I caramelized an assortment of root vegetables and kept the red cabbage.



  • 1 duck (7-8 pounds)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 apples
  • 2 handful of pitted prunes
  • a handful salt and some pepper
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 whole allspice
  • 5 whole cloves

Pickled Red Cabbage:

  • 1 medium red cabbage
  • 25 g butter, salted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (I mixed half balsamic and half blackberry-ginger balsamic for a sweeter taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Caramelized Root vegetables:

  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 sun chokes (Israeli artichokes)
  • 1 small root celery
  • 3 small beets
  • salt
  • a splash of oil for the baking
  • sugar and butter for the caramelizing



Preheat the oven to 265℉ (130℃).

Chop the oranges and apples in the size of the prunes. Mix star anise, allspice, cloves and the broken cinnamon stick with apples, oranges and prunes. Have the salt in a clean cup.

Take neck and giblets out of the duck. Make sure that all feather sacks are out of the duck, you don't want a hard part of the feather in the crispy skin.

Pad the duck dry with some kitchen towel. Salt the duck inside, and fill it with the fruit mixture. Close the opening with a  trussing needle. 

Truss the duck by placing the duck on a tray with the legs towards you. Tuck the wing tips under the duck. Cut a piece of cooking twine about 3 feet (1 meter), and center it on top of the neck end of the breast. Lift the neck end of the duck and pull the twine down around the wings and under the duck, then bring the ends up over the breast, towards you, and knot the twine, pulling it tight to plump the breast. Bring the ends of the twine around the ends of the drumsticks and straight up. Tie as before to pull the drumsticks together and form a compact bird; tie again to secure knot."

Well, I did it my way, and tried my best to get the compact duck. Sometimes I just pull the wing onto the back of the duck, and use a cooking rubber band to tie the legs together.

Salt the duck with a lot of salt. 

Put the duck in the oven, breast side down, and cook it like this for 3-3½ hours. Have a pan under the duck, and put the giblets, neck and water in it. This water/drippings will be the base for the sauce. 

After 3½ hours turn the duck breast side up, and roast it for another 1½-2 hours until the temperature in the duck reaches 158℉ (70℃). If the skin isn't crispy, give the bird a few minutes under the boiler, be careful not to burn the duck.

Take the duck out and let it rest. Pour the drippings from the pan through a strainer into a saucepan. Skim the fat from the surface. I use a fat separator, which makes this process a breeze. Save the fat in the refrigerator or the freezer. Duck fat is a flavorful fat, and is perfect to roast potatoes in.

Add some cream, blue cheese and red currant jelly to the drippings and thicken the sauce.

Remove the twine and carve the duck. 

Red Cabbage:

Remove outher leaves of cabbage, and cut cabbage into quarters and remove the white core. Thinly slice the cabbage across the quarters width-wise. To get uniform slices I use a mandolin.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the cabbage and sear it for a couple minutes. Add vinegar and sugar.  Simmer the cabbage for 10-15 minutes until cabbage is tender.

Season with salt, pepper, vinegar and sugar. Serve heated to pork roasts or roasted duck. 

Caramelized Root vegetables:

Preheat the oven for 400℉ (200℃).

Peel the root vegetables and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Keep the beets separate even during baking, to prevent all the vegetables from turning red. Dress the vegetables in oil and season with salt. Bake the vegetables in ovenproof dishes for about 30 minutes until tender, but not soft. Cool the vegetables. Just before you are ready to serve, heat a large skillet over high heat, pour in the sugar and melt it. When the sugar has turned the color of light amber, add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon. Carefully pour the vegetables into the hot caramel. Lower the heat and make sure the vegetables get covered in the caramel and get heated through. Serve immediately, otherwise the vegetables looses the shine.


Red Curry with Seared Duck Breast

Dinner, Meats, PoultryTove Balle-PedersenComment
Red Curry with Seared Duck Breast

Red Curry with Seared Duck Breast

In Denmark we often had curries, but I have never had fresh bamboo shoots before moving to the States. Knowing how good fresh poached bamboo shoot tastes, I will never go back to the ones you can buy canned in the stores. They don't have the soft texture and sweet taste.

This is my take on a red duck curry.

Serves 2-3


  • 1 duck breast, seared and roasted
  • 1 red or yellow pepper
  • ½ fresh poached bamboo shoot, thinly sliced (can be substituted with canned bamboo shoot)
  • 1 can baby corn (or fresh), cut bite sized 
  • 150 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 handful sweet basil leaves
  • 8 lychee fruits
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced thinly for topping
  • vegetables oil for cooking

Curry Paste:

  • 2 dried red chili peppers
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper
  • ¼ red onion
  • 3 teaspoons lemongrass (minced or paste)
  • 1-inch (3 cm) ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 4 garlic gloves
  • 7 black peppercorns 
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar


Make the curry paste, by blending all the ingredients in a mini blender until you have a smooth paste. 

Chop all the vegetables in bite sized pieces, and set them aside. 

Heat some vegetable oil in a wok, add the curry paste and cook until fragrant. Add vegetables, a little at a time, so the wok don't cool down. 

Add sugar, coconut milk and fish sauce. Let the sauce thicken a bit while simmering. Season the sauce with fish sauce, pepper and sugar.

Just before serving, add the lychee fruits and basil leaves.

Serve the curry over rice and thinly sliced duck breast.



Seared Duck Breast

Christmas, Dinner, Poultry, MeatsTove Balle-PedersenComment
Duck Breasts

Duck Breasts

In Denmark we have roasted duck for holidays like Christmas, but duck breasts is a great cut of meat, that works great in a lot of dishes. I love seared duck breast on a nice salad with blue cheese, berries or with a bunch of steamed vegetables. The possibilities are almost endless.

Serves 4


  • 2 duck breasts
  • salt


Preheat the oven to 400℉ (200℃).

Using a sharp knife, score skin in ¾-inch diamond pattern (do not cut into flesh). Sprinkle with a good amount of salt.

Place the duck breasts skind-side down in a cold skillet. Place the skillet over medium heat. The duck fat starts to render and will add enough fat to cook the breasts. This process will add to the crispiness of the skin. Cook the breasts like this for about 5 minutes. Turn duck breasts over and put the skillet in the preheated oven until to desired doneness, about 6-12 minutes depending on size and desired doneness.

Transfer to work surface, cover with foil to keep warm, and let rest 7-10 minutes. Thinly slice duck, and serve on a salad, curry or with all the christmas trimmings as Caramelized potatoes, pickled red cabbage.

Sous-Vide Duck Breast

Christmas, Dinner, Meats, Poultry, sous videTove Balle-PedersenComment
Sous-Vide Duck Breast with  Citrus Salad with Liquorice-vinaigrette  

Sous-Vide Duck Breast with Citrus Salad with Liquorice-vinaigrette 

I really like the meat from a duck, especially the breasts. If you cook it to long it will dry out, but served medium-rare to medium is the most tender juicy piece of meat you can get. Since I got my Anova sous-vide cooker I have been longing to cook the duck breast sous-vide. Today was the day.


  • 2 Duck Breasts
  • Salt


Wash you hands very thoroughly, when handling the duck. You don't want to cross-contaminate other foods or the duck. So keep your work station clean and tidy all the time. 

Refrigerate duck breasts on paper towel-lined plate overnight. This will allow some of the juices to evaporate, and you get a firmer breast in the end.

Have the vacuum bags pre-sealed in one end (doh!). Fold the rim out, so you don't get any grease or water on the place you need to seal the bags. Have the salt and pepper you want to use in small bowls, so you don't get any "duck" in the salt you're not using. 

Take the duck breasts out and score the skin in a harlequin pattern with a sharp knife. Season them with salt and pepper. Place them in the vacuum bags, vacuum and seal them. (I seal them twice just to be on the safe side.)

Place them in 135℉ (57℃) water bath for at least 45 minutes and up to 3 hours. I stopped after 2 hours, no need to go the limit with this delicate meat. Remove duck from bags and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

Place breasts skin side-down in heavy-bottomed non-stick or cast iron skillet and set over high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook  until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Make sure that you get good contact between skillet and the skin. You won't need any oil, the fat from the duck will render and give you plenty of fat for the searing. Flip  the breasts and cook the other side until slightly seared.

Slice the breasts thinly and serve with your favorite sides. One of my favorites is caramelized potatoespicked red cabbage or Citrus Salad with Liquorice-vinaigrette.