Crispy duck confit with pickled raisins

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I was ecstatic to find this recipe in a recent issue of Bon Appétit. Confit de canard is one of my all-time favorite French recipes, but one that seemed too complicated, expensive and time-consuming to try and make at home. For years now I’ve been perfectly happy buying my duck confit in big, round cans, but I knew that it could clearly be so much better. A good duck confit is tender and falling off the bone, with a crisp, perfect, browned skin. Obviously the canned alternative can’t get the skin right, offering rather a very unappetizing, fat-soaked white mass of skin that is immediately discarded before serving. This recipe, which is genius because it doesn’t require you to buy additional duck fat, gets the skin so right that it was basically my favorite part of the meal. Continue reading

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Goat cheese salad with honey, raisins, potatoes and grilled bacon bits

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Goat cheese and salad equals a quick and satisfying meal every time. This is one of my current favorites, sweetened slightly with the addition of honey and golden raisins, and earthy with the addition of potatoes and bacon.

Simply whip up a classic mustard vinaigrette with olive oil, mustard and red wine vinegar. Toss your salad with this dressing, cooked bacon or lardon, leftover baked potatoes and golden raisins. Top a piece of bread with a slice of goat cheese and some dried herbs and place under your broiler for about 10 minutes. Remove, drizzle with honey and serve atop your salad!

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Couscous with chicken, cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit

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Having a stocked pantry makes life so much easier on a rainy afternoon after opening the fridge to find some chicken and… well, that’s about it. We could’ve gone the easy route, making some version of our standard chicken with pasta, usually involving cream and whatever vegetables and cheese we have in stock. Jérôme was all set to make it happen when I opened the cupboard and saw a poor, neglected box of couscous hiding in the corner. Couscous! This is what our chicken needed.

Unfortunately after three seconds of my mind mentally reviewing what I’d just seen in the refrigerator I realized that we had literally no vegetables in the house, save a few onions. A good couscous is all about slow-roasted root veggies giving flavor to a savory broth and being absorbed by the fluffy, light couscous and just pulling the dish together. But now my mind was made up. I wanted couscous, but how could I make it work without going to the grocery store?

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