I wound up with three quarts of the stuff, which sat in the Deep Storage Facility until last week, when I found myself boning out more duck legs to make more sausage. I remembered this recipe from Cooking Without Borders, I had a few legs left over, so why not make duck phở?
I thawed out two quarts of the broth and simmered three duck legs in it for about two hours. I removed the legs and let them cool while I skimmed excess fat off the broth, then pulled the meat off the bones. I sliced a red onion, boiled some thin rice noodles, and then scored three small chunks of foie gras (only a few bucks each).
I divided the noodles into bowls, then added the duck meat and onion.
Although this was my first time using foie gras as an ingredient, I’d eaten enough of the stuff to know that it needs a quick, hot sear.
I ladled hot broth into the bowls, added the seared foie to each, and garnished with mint leaves (closer in taste to the unavailable Thai basil than Italian basil). I served the phở with the traditional accompaniments of bean sprouts, limes, hoisin, and sriracha.
He Who Will Not Be Ignored poked his chopsticks at the foie, asking “What is this stuff?” When I told him it was fatty duck liver, he dove in – I knew I had him at “fat.”
This was a tasty bowl of soup, just as rich as the more traditional phở dac biet (beef phở). Chewy bits of duck meat, soft foie, crunchy onions – all the textures were there, along with the highly aromatic broth. Once you have the broth (and you do keep a stock pot on the stove al the time, don’t you?), the rest of the dish comes together in two lazy hours, which includes the time while the legs simmer. Do yourself a favor this winter – instead of plain old soup, treat yourself to some phở.