A Four-Star Chef Lends His Expertise to Home-Cooks

Roasted duck with red wine-braised apples.

I still remember when I first watched a Charlie Trotter cooking show on public television years ago.

The renowned chef of the eponymous gastronomic temple, Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, was prepping a big hunk of meat that was to be roasted in the oven. To ensure the meat turned out super moist, he was going to stud it with bacon. “Just take your larding needle and insert the bacon pieces into the meat,” he instructed.

Uh, my what?

That was one of my early clues that big-name chefs are not like you and me.

I don’t know about you, but the only needles I usually have around the house are for sewing loose buttons on my blouses.

So when Trotter’s new book, “Home Cooking with Charlie Trotter” (Ten Speed Press) came out, I wondered if I’d have to head to my nearest Sur La Table to stock up on obscure cooking tools.

Not to worry, I didn’t. Unlike his previous cookbooks, which were gorgeous but full of extremely complex recipes, this one actually was loaded with dishes doable at home.

See that roast duck above? Yup, I made that recipe, “Whole Roasted Duck with Red Wine-Braised Apples.” And it was painless. Not only that, the sauce — made from a whole bottle of red wine and a whopping two cups of honey — was out of this world.

Find that recipe and my review of the book on ProjectFoodie.com.

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  • That dish looks so beautiful I thought it was from Charlie Trotter’s restaurant! ;-) Kudos for making duck. I’ve never tried making duck at home (well, did panfry duck legs once) because I’ve always heard how messy it is roasting a whole duck. Was it a lot of mess? Did the skin turn out crispy?

  • Single Guy Chef, cooking duck is not that different from cooking a chicken. The one difference is the amount of fat that renders. It’s quite a bit. But some folks like that. They save it, strain it, and use it to cook with (killer fried potatoes, for instance). This skin didn’t turn out crispy, unfortunately. But the sauce is addicting, and the apples a very nice addition.

    I think that before this winter ends, you should try cooking a duck. Hey, I made jam for the first time. So I think it’s high-time for your first experience with a whole duck.

  • Great looking duck. And thanks for helping us add yet another kitchen tool to the must get list. How fun to have something like a larding needle!

  • The duck and braised apples look delicious! Nice plating too.

  • Beautiful duck dish! I love Charlie Trotter – he is great.

  • You made that? I am so impressed, it looks amazing!

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