Duck Feasting with Daddy

April 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Dinner | 6 Comments

My father has a good job at this place in MD. Their kitchen is kosher and has large groups weekly where they cook great food. One such party had a plethora of ducks ordered. Apparently, not all were used so the chef told my father to take home two ducks and put into his freezer. He immediately called me to let me know and then about 3 months later, those babies were defrosted and sitting in my sink. Dad and I had fun hacking them up to harvest the breasts and legs. We cooked two fantastic meals with those beautiful fowls and had a great time doing that!

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For my recipes, I went to the source for good French cooking. Thomas Keller! The duck breast recipe came from his Ad Hoc and the duck confit recipe from Bouchon.  I am so happy we were able to spend this time together this weekend. I was also so impressed that I am actually a whiz at cooking duck! Go for the jump to see lots of lovely pictures.

After the breaking down was complete, we had four lovely duck breasts waiting to be seasoned. Salt, pepper, thyme, orange zest, balsamic and a bay leaf. These sat in the fridge for an hour before going into the hot pan.

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Hot pan is right!! Medium-low heat… perfect for getting allllll that fat out. Dad and I were a great time. I manned the meat while he manned the spoon and glass jars for fat retrieval!

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And we had our adorable kitchen companion Peta.

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In addition to all of this fatty meat, we had lots of vegetables! Dad’s friend Steve told him about this new way to prepare asparagus. Boil enough water to fill a pyrex halfway with a bit of olive oil and a good amount of salt.

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Pour hot water atop the asparagus (previously trimmed of their woody ends) and let it sit for 15 minutes.

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Remove from water and serve!

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The instructions for the final duck breast preparation are written below.

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After we feasted on the breasts, asparagus, and some roasted broccoli and Garlic Tuscan bread from wegmans (not shown!) We got back into the kitchen to finish getting the confit ready to go into the oven!

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I had previously rubbed the legs with an herb salt, then they rested in the fridge for about 6 hours, and then the salt was rinsed and all were placed into this large ramekin. The clean and filtered duck fat was warmed and poured atop the legs! Then into the oven it went at 190 degrees for 10 hours!  We served it atop a bed of roasted brussel sprouts and an AWESOME dijon, shallot and creme fraiche sauce.   It was the most amazing reward after 2 good hours of mountain biking in the hills around Frederick.

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Daddy proclaimed this the best lunch he has ever had. I had to agree with him!!!!  And it was so nice eating it outside on that sunny Sunday.

Pan-Roasted Duck Breast Dinner

Ingredients:

Four 10 to 12- ounce Pekin (Long Island) duck breasts, preferably with tenderloins still attached
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg
1 orange
Balsamic vinegar
4 thyme sprigs
4 bay leaves
Canola oil
Gray salt or other coarse sea salt

Directions:

1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut a ¼-inch crosshatch pattern in the skin of each breast, being careful not to pierce the meat. (Do this while the duck is cold, since it’s difficult to make such precise cuts at room temperature.) Turn the duck breasts skin-side down on the baking sheet. If the tenderloins, the smaller piece of meat that runs along the bottom of the breast, are still attached, leave them on the breasts. Use a paring knife to remove the small white tendon that runs through each tenderloin. You will see a vein that runs the length of each breast. Run your finger down the length of each vein, and if any blood comes out, wipe it away with a paper towel.

2) Season the flesh side of each breast with salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Using a Microplane or other grater, grate a little orange zest over each breast. Sprinkle a few drops of vinegar over the meat. Lay a sprig of thyme running lengthwise down the center if each breast and cover with a bay leaf. Turn over and season each breast with a generous pinch of salt and a grating of nutmeg. Refrigerate, uncovered, for a least 1 hour, or up to 12 hours.

3) Preheat the oven to 400 F.

4) Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Set a metal bowl or other container near the stove. With a paper towel, blot any moisture from the duck breasts. Season both sides of each breast with a pinch of salt.

5) Pour some canola oil into each of the two large ovenproof frying pans over medium-low heat (I did NOT add any oil). (If you have only one large pan, cook the duck in 2 batches.) Add the duck skin-side-down. Move the duck breasts every few minutes to help them brown evenly. As the fat is rendered, carefully remove the excess (leaving about 1/8 inch) from each frying pan; move the pan away from the heat when you remove the fat, since if any fat hits the flame, it will cause a flare-up: tilt the pan, remove the fat with a large kitchen spoon, and transfer it to the metal bowl. Cook the duck for a total of 20 to 25 minutes, until the skin is an even rich brown and very crisp. The internal temperature of the breasts should be about 115 F. Flip each breast and just “kiss” the meat side for about 30 seconds.

6. Put the duck skin-side-down in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes. The internal temperature should be 125 F for a rosy medium-rare. (If you cooked the duck in batches, the first batch may take up to 8 to 10 minutes to reheat.)

7. Put the duck breast skin-side-down on the cooling rack and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Cut each piece of duck lengthwise into 3 -4 slices. Sprinkle the meat with gray salt and pepper.

Duck Confit

4 whole duck legs
Enough fat to cover the legs, 3+ cups. (We rendered the fat from the breasts and I had two cups of duck fat waiting for three years for this meal!)

Green salt
4 Tbsp kosher salt
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp thyme leaves
2 Tbsp packed parsley leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1)Add the ingredients for the green salt in a small food processor or spice grinder. Process until well combined and bright green.

2) Trim off any excess fat or skin on the duck legs, rinse, and pat dry. Rub the duck with green salt, using about 1 tablespoon per leg or breast. Place the duck in a baking dish in one layer flesh side up. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours to cure. (We did 6 hours)

3) After the cure, rinse the legs (or breast) and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 190 deg F. Place in an ovenproof pot with lid and cover the duck with rendered fat. Place the pot in the oven and cook for 10 hours. (I started at 11 pm and took it out at 9 am! Heavenly!) The duck is done with it is very tender and the meat will pull away from the bone on the drumstick and shrink towards the thigh. The fat should be clear, meaning that the meat is no longer releasing any juices.

Duck Confit Lunch

Ingredients:

4 pieces duck confit
Kosher salt
16 Brussels sprouts (about 12 ounces)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced thyme leaves
12 cloves garlic confit (or about half as many fresh ones)
1 1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 tablespoon minced chives (omitted for lazy/cheapness)

Directions:

1) Allow the duck legs to soften at room temperature until you can remove the legs without damage. You can also warm them gently in the oven.

2) Preheat the oven to 375. Remove outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts until you have only tender green leaves showing. Slice lengthwise into 4 pieces

3) Mix with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper.

4) Roast the sprouts in the oven for about 20 minutes.

5) Gently scrape away remaining fat on the legs and bat with paper towels.

6) Heat a non-stick (use an actual nonstick next time dummy Elizabeth!!) skillet large enough to hold the legs in an uncrowded, single layer over medium heat. Add the legs skin side down and stand back, since they’ll eject boiling pearls of duck fat all over the place. They should sit untouched anyway, so let them do their thing.

7) Saute for five to six minutes, gently turning with tongs to get them crispy all over. They should turn a rich brown, but don’t let them burn of course. When they’re a minute or so away from finishing, tilt the pan and spoon some of the fat that’s leaked off the legs into a baking dish, enough to coat. Place the legs skin up on sheet and warm for 8 minutes.

8 ) Meanwhile, discard all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining skillet fat and let the skillet come down to medium-low heat. Add the shallots, thyme, and fresh garlic.

9) Saute gently for 2 minutes, then add the stock and bring to a simmer for an additional two minutes. Whisk in the Dijon mustard and crème fraiche and add the sprouts.

10) Simmer until the sprouts are warmed through, letting the sauce reduce until it coats them.

11) Remove the legs from the oven and drain on paper towels. Take the sprouts off the heat. Plate them, topping with the duck confit, and serve immediately!

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6 Comments »

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  1. I love this Duck Confit recipe. I used to make it all the time. Thanks for reminding me how wonderful it is.

    • It really is an outstanding method!!! What’s wonderful is seeing your family chowing down on it with very happy expressions on their faces. 😀

  2. wow! i’ve never cooked duck at home- you make it look easy! that breast looks so good- did you get crispy skin?

    • Yeah it was pretty easy following the recipe! Dad was a great help too. That skin was surely crispy. sooooo good.

  3. omg this is straight food porn.

    • yah. I would have to agree. 😀


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