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Duck Soup: Not Groucho's, But Mine

It's a big TV hit across the pond in Australia, Hungary and the United Kingdom and now "MasterChef" has made its way to America. Headed by renowned Chef Gordon Ramsay, "MasterChef" is looking for that one outstanding amateur home chef that has what it takes to become a "MasterChef." The winner will win $250,000, publish a cookbook, and have the distinction of being crowned the first American "MasterChef." Gordon will be joined on the judges' panel by Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich. At 27, Graham is the youngest chef to earn 4 Michelin Stars, and Joe owns 20 of America's best restaurants and 3 Italian wineries. Gordon, known in America for his TV shows "Hell's Kitchen," "Kitchen Nightmares," and the "F-Word," owns 28 restaurants worldwide.


There are luncheon entrees that run the gamut from chicken pot pie to knockwurst and bratwurst. You can get a half slow cooker duck broth or stuffed pork loin. If that is a little heavy you can have a turkey gobbler sandwich or a hamburger among the many sandwich choices. They always have several soup choices as well as salads.

I have even had some recipes for main dishes ruined this way, such as one for Sweet and Sour Chicken that was diluted and overcooked while I followed the recipe. And I did follow it--to the letter-which is what I always do when testing a recipe.

For their main plates you can try the magret de canard which is caramelized how to cook duck with a spicy orange sauce, apples foie gras cake and asparagus for $27.00, or the carre d'agneau which is baked rack of lamb flavored with ginger and served with scalloped potatoes for $32.00, or the jarret de veau which is slowly braised osso buco in balsamic vinegar and Madeira and served with parmesan risotto and cremini mushrooms for $39.00.

But today I found a recipe that is well thought out. It is a slow cooker duck for brownies, and it capitalizes on the tendency to retain moisture by creating a formula for oohey-gooey brownies. But these brownies are referred to as triple chocolate, meaning that they have actual baking chocolate in them rather than cocoa. That is going to produce moist brownies however you do it.

Handle the crock carefully. In an cooking a whole frozen duck titled, "Cleaning Your Crockery Cooker," the Better Homes and Gardens Web site cautions users about hitting the crock on the kitchen faucet. (Apparently this has happened.) One hit could chip or crack the insert.

North Pond. This restaurant has a beautiful location in Lincoln Park, at the edge of a pond that with views of the Chicago skyline. The building was originally a warming shelter for ice skaters and has been redesigned according to Arts and Crafts tradition. Examples from the menu include Halibut with Mussels, Wild Salmon with Squash and Pork with Apricots. North Pond service lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner. AAA Three Diamond. 2610 N. Canon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614. 1-773-477-5845.

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