Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

January 24, 2022

© Drew Lazor

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Duck, barley and mushroom soup

A cool-weather duck and barley dish that has a bold personality

Beef and barley are a classic German soup combination, but here the beef has been swapped out in favour of duck, giving this cool-weather dish a bolder personality. Start with a whole bird, using its meat for the soup and its carcass for the rich, beery duck broth backdrop. If you’re feeling under the weather, this soup will definitely put you on the road to recovery. It’s chicken noodle soup, new German style.

For the stock
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
1 leek, white and green parts, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) pieces
1 5-to-6-lb (2.3-to-2.7-kg) Long Island duck
4 fresh bay leaves or 2 dried bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme

2¼ c. (560 ml) pearl barley
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf or dried bay leaf
1 lb. (455 g) wild (chanterelle or porcini) and/or cultivated (portobello, cremini, or shii¬take) mushrooms, trimmed and cut into thin slices
4 c. (1 L) Spaten Optimator, Ayinger Celebrator, or other double-bock beer
2 tbsp. (30 ml) finely chopped fresh curly-leaf parsley

To make the broth, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Put the carrots, onion, celery and leek in the centre of a roasting pan, forming a vegetable “rack” for the duck. Place the duck, breast-side up, on top of the vegetables and place in the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermom¬eter inserted into a leg away from bone registers 150°F (65°C), about 1½ hours.

Transfer the duck to a large plate and set aside to cool until it can be handled. Place the roasting pan on the stove top over two burners. Turn on the heat to medium and pour enough water into the pan to come about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the sides. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. When the water reaches a boil, remove the pan from the heat and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large stockpot. Discard the solids.

When the duck is cool enough to handle, pull the meat with the skin intact off the carcass. Shred the meat and skin into pieces, put into a bowl, cover and set aside for adding to the soup. Break up the carcass into a few big pieces, add to the stockpot with the deglazed pan liquid and then add water to cover, the bay leaves and thyme. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, turn the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 hour.

Remove the stockpot from the heat, strain the broth through the fine-mesh sieve into a heatproof container and discard the solids. You should have about 8 cups (2 L) for the soup. (Reserve the remainder for another use.) Using a large metal spoon, skim off the fat from the surface. (Alternatively, let the broth cool, cover, and refrigerate the broth and the reserved duck meat separately overnight. The next day, skim off the solidified fat from surface of the broth and finish the soup.)

Rinse out the stockpot, pour the broth back into it and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the barley, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add the mushrooms, beer and the reserved duck meat, and continue to simmer until the barley is tender, about 15 minutes longer.

Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

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