Duck, Down & Above's First Duck Cooking Demo a Success
April 2012

LEESBURG, IN (April 27, 2012) -- Duck, Down & Above had a great turnout for its first duck cooking demo last night at Maple Leaf Farms. The audience of 32 people was eager to sample the duck dishes that Chef Andrew Jones of Viand Chef Services (Warsaw) created for the event.

The theme for the presentation was Asian fusion style, which included recipes for an appetizer, soup and entrée. Chef Andrew explained that his love for Asian flavor came from his uncle’s wife, who was Vietnamese and liked to cook. That love has even rubbed off on his eldest son, who has asked for Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) for his birthday two years in a row.

Chef Andrew began the evening’s demonstration with deboning a Maple Leaf Farms whole duck, a “daunting task to some.” All of the duck pieces were later used as ingredients.

The Crispy Duck Spring Rolls with Peanut-Hoisin Dipping Sauce started off the meal. With strips of skinned and seared duck breast, the spring rolls were Vietnamese-style — light and healthy with julienned vegetables. He stressed that high-quality authentic ingredients should be used, not “Americanized versions” for items such as the rice papers and fish sauce. (Note: Many of the special ingredients may be purchased from Duck, Down & Above.)

For the soup course, it was Duck Pho Soup, which is frequently made with beef or chicken. “If you go to Vietnam and have Pho, you must slurp at the end of the bowl,” said Chef Andrew. He described Pho as almost being a “national dish” and explained that the stock is the star of the dish.

The chef’s Duck Pho featured poached duck meat from the whole duck that was previously cut up. He also included a couple of duck meatballs made from Maple Leaf Farms ground duck meat. The soup was served with softened rice noodles and a table salad.

The main entrée was Seared Duck Breast with Jasmine Rice Cakes and Bok Choy. The dish entailed a lot of prep work for many of its components. Chef Andrew started with skinning a duck breast and then slicing the duck fat into strips to be baked until crisp for duck cracklins, the topping for the dish.

He grilled the duck breast for this recipe, but said it can also be pan seared. The dish also included a Chili-Mango Purée and Grilled Scallion-Cilantro Pesto.

At the conclusion of the demonstration, the audience was treated to small plates of each of the duck dishes thanks to the Maple Leaf Farms R&D team. The evening was a success, and certainly no one went home hungry.

The full schedule of upcoming cooking demonstrations will soon be announced.

View photos from the cooking demo >

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