Soaked and Smoked Green Tea Duck

Well the new Weber has been here for a week and a day (still no doors though). And I must admit I have spent more time playing with the new toy than worrying about blogging for both of my readers. Weber’s representative in The Netherlands has assured me the missing parts are on the way.

Green Tea Smoked Duck

Anyway, having experimented on 7 out of the last 8 evenings, at last I can share some food. It took some ‘getting used too’, the new grill is different. But as Weber promises, there have been no ‘Flare up’, and for the first time chicken from the grill has had a fantastic caramelized flavor with no smoky burnt bits, but with a real grilled flavor.

Speaking of smoky, tonight the only item in the refrigerator was a breast of duck. Now many moons ago, tea soaked duck was all the rage in the restaurant I worked in. It seams that tea breaks down the fats in the duck, and makes it extra tender.

So the duck breast was soaked in Green Tea for about an hour. In the mean time some apple wood chips were also soaked in some of the tea, and mixed with the tea leaves from the brew.

The wood chips and tealeaves were added to the new smoker unit. The duck skin was dried (with a paper towel) and salted with sea salt. Once the grill reached about 250 degrees C, the chips and leaves started to smoke, and the duck breast was placed skin side down on the grill. After 5 minutes, flip it over, and allow to smoke with the lid down for 3 more minutes.

The result… A smoky, tender, crispy skinned breast of duck to die for. Enjoy with a fruity red wine and some salad. Best duck I ever ate.

Not mushroom on the grill

In my article about buying a new grill, I mentioned that my grill was too small. Part of that reason was due to cooking more than the meat element. Most of my friends are also a barbecue enthusiasts’ nightmare, they are vegetarians. Rather than excluding the veggie eaters from the party, I see this as a challenge, and it’s one of the reasons I have invested so much time into the vegetable barbecue.

On Monday night, unquestionably the star feature of the main course what the grilled Portobello mushroom with blue cheese. Two of my guests won’t eat cheese, and it works equally well without the cheese. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures, so I made them again with a goal of taking some photos.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom – Photo: Chris Summers

The dish is a very suitable starter or side dish, but equally a really large (or two smaller Portobellos) could be presented as a main course. Wash the outside of the mushroom, being careful not to get the gills too soggy, and place the mushroom cup side up on a plate. Sprinkle it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and drop a few knobs of butter on the top. Today I topped it with a few blobs of Brie and a sprinkle of fresh thyme instead of the butter. Other alternatives could be blue cheese or finely chopped garlic and other herbs.

For best effect these are cooked very slowly, away from the direct heat. This allows the juices of the mushroom to slowly come out and make it really soft. I normally put them on the top shelf of my grill before I put the meat on and cook them for about 40 minutes. They also work just fine in the oven (about 180 degrees C for 25 minutes). They can be a bit greasy, and if you use cheese they can be very rich, so I tend to serve them with a strong tasting salad of something like arugula or watercress. I hope they bring you as much joy as they have my guests.