I have the misfortune of periodically being mocked by my colleagues for proclaiming to have made the best X (insert pizza, pasta, burger etc) in the world ever for tea the previous night. Although these declarations are made with tongue firmly in cheek to convey my enthusiasm for cooking, I think I may be on to something...
I'd love to cook seasonally, foraging in my patch for the inviting fruit or vegetable that's ripe for the plucking. Alas, with supermarket shelves perennially stocked with goods with more air miles than Yuri Gagarin, it's difficult not to be enticed too soon.
So it is with my dutch rhubarb that I bring you:
Ducks legs in rhubarb and Madeira with spinach and mash (serves 2)
2 Ducks legs
1 stem of rhubarb, flower removed as poisonous
200 ml Madeira
2 cloves of garlic
3 large sprigs of thyme
12 charlotte new potatoes
Large handful of spinach
1 spring onion
Butter for sauteing and mash
Splash of milk
Sprinkling of brown sugar
salt and pepper for seasoning
When I researched this dish, I found Curtis Stone's recipe which use port and chicken stock instead of Madeira. Although both fortified wines, I find port a little over powering, where as I find the nutty notes in Madeira better compliment the rhubarb, and thyme, and the juices from the duck compensate for the chicken stock - try it with both though and let me know what you think.
Now to assemble your creation. Place one dollop of mash in the middle of the plate. Perch a ducks leg at a jaunty angle and scatter half of the spinach around it. Remove the rhubarb from the casserole dish and place atop the spinach. Strain the juices through a sieve into the duck leg/spinach pan and reduced by half. Pour over the duck and serve.
I could drink the sauce alone, the flavour is stunning. Can't wait to tell the guys about it...