Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Curried Duck with Ginger and Mango, Seared Duck Liver with Plum, Turnip Puree, Duck Gizzard and Heart Salad Paired with 2007 Mayo Viognier

2007 Mayo Viognier with Duck Three Ways-2

This meal is all about making the most of the rest of the duck.  Recently I wrote about a duck breast pairing “Glazed Duck Breast Quinoa, Cipollini Onions, Black Trumpet Mushrooms Paired with 2006 ZD Carneros Pinot Noir.”  The pairing under consideration in this post is a result of the rest of the duck.  I had carcasses (including legs and thighs intact) and all the other bits and pieces so decided to use every quacking piece.

My results were mixed.  As I have always promised, I will share the good and the bad – even when the “bad” is my own doing.  So lets get on with the blow-by-blow.

The Food

With all the bits and pieces of duck, I decided on a three course meal.  To start, a salad of sautéed duck hearts and gizzards over mixed greens with a plum vinaigrette.  This was followed by seared duck liver over sliced plum and a plum caramel sauce.  And finally, curried duck with ginger and mango accompanied by a puree of turnips.

Sautee of Duck Hearts and Gizzards

The salad was very tasty, but the texture was horrible.  I was not able to get the gizzards soft enough – no, they were just plain chewy.  So we pushed aside gizzards and enjoyed the hearts, greens and plum vinaigrette.  I will include the preparation instructions when I get it right.  If you can make gizzards sufficiently tender, you have a winner.


The seared liver was very nice, and the caramel plum sauce and bed of sliced plums added a bit of sweet contrast with the plum flavors swimming in unison with the seared liver.  Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it; Chef Sue is not a fan of liver and politely declined my offering.

Roasting Duck-1

The curried duck with ginger and mango was really all I needed.  The rest of the meal was just taking up space.  This was seriously good, and perfect use of the unused duck.  The dominant flavors came from the mildly gamey duck, curry spices, coconut milk, slight hints of ginger, and sweet fruity mango.  Surprisingly, the flavors were well balanced.

Finally, the turnips.  Just stinking awful.  I have prepared turnips plenty of times.  These were fibrous and nearly inedible.  This was a real disappointment because I enjoy turnips.  I can’t say for certain, but I believe it was the turnip and not the cook.  But in the end, I was enjoying the duck and the wine sufficiently to completely forget about the turnip abomination (as a matter of fact, I almost forgot to write about it).

The Wine

The 2007 Mayo Family Winery Russian River Valley, Saralee’s Vineyard Viognier comes from our membership in the Mayo Family Winery wine club – a recent delivery.

2007 Mayo Viognier

I found the description on the back label of the bottle entertaining, and I thought you might enjoy it as well.

“Consider this wine a real showoff…with a secret.  It’s the aroma that makes the statement.  The wine is explosive and exotic.  Perfumed aromas of honeysuckle, ripe apricot and sweet summer peaches will knock your socks off as this is not a typical, cloying Viognier with a simple sweet greeting.  Once on your palate, you’ll love its fresh, crisp structure not usually found in Russian River Valley Viognier.  Balanced on its well-structured frame is an array of peach, lemony and floral flavors that finish forever.”

I may not be quite as energetic as this description, but I honestly cannot disagree with it – this is a wonderfully intense wine that leaves you with thoughts of “wow, where did that come from?”  The parts that stood out for me were certainly the apricot and peach aromas, a well balanced sweetness, nice crisp acidity, and the peach flavor taking center stage.  This is a great wine for food.  The sweetness, acidity and pleasing peach – apricot flavors will stand up to demanding and highly spiced foods such as Indian and Thai.  At $35, this is a fairly priced wine.

The Pairing

This was a roll your eyes back in the head palate dislocating intense experience.  No kidding.  Forget about the salad (tasty, but lets just give it an honorable mention).  Forget about the seared duck liver with plum caramel sauce (super tasty and the sweetness melded perfectly with the wine) - just a warm-up band for the main event.  The curried duck came out of its corner punching with big flavors of duck, coconut, and curry supported by a ring crew of sweet ginger and mango.  This is a heavy weight contender.  They Mayo Viognier is no light weight and returned the punches with matched intensity.  Oddly, after the first punches were thrown, they both decided to dance and sing rather than fight.  The fruits fused.  The sweet notes sang in harmony, and the acidity of the wine balanced the spice of the curry. 

2007 Mayo Viognier with Duck Three Ways-1

Final Words

This was a prize fight match contrived by Don King, fought by the iconic heavyweights, and concluded with a Broadway musical.  This was not my plan, but I liked it!


Plum Seared Duck Liver


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 sliced plums
  • 3 duck livers


Over medium heat add butter and sugar to a sauté pan and heat until caramel forms. Add basalmic vinegar and plums. Cook until beginning to thicken. Remove from heat and leave at the ready for plating with the duck liver.

Heat pan over high heat, and add livers seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Place plums on plates, top with seared liver and drizzle caramel around plate.

Curried Duck with Ginger and Mango

Roasting Duck


  • Six legs and thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 large mango cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Garnish with Fresh cilantro


1. Season duck legs and thighs with salt and pepper.

2. After taking the breasts off your ducks and using them in another recipe (see Glazed Duck Breast Quinoa, Cipollini Onions, Black Trumpet Mushrooms Paired with 2006 ZD Carneros Pinot Noir) season the balance of the duck with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan and into a preheated oven (350).  Remove from oven when internal temp reaches 160.  Alternatively, oil a sauté pan over high heat, add duck and brown on both sides.  Either way, the legs and thighs need to end up in the sauté pan.

3. Blend one onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, vinegar, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water in a blender until smooth.

4. Add one onion and a large pinch of salt to the sauté pan with the duck drippings on medium heat . Sauté until soft. Add the product of your blender sidetrack and cook for two minutes.

Curried Duck

5. Add coconut milk and 2 cups water, and bring to a simmer. Add mango, brown sugar, and duck. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low and simmer for one hour turning the duck every 15 minutes. Turn duck again, and let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

6. Plate with fresh cilantro as garnish and serve.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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