Sunday, February 24, 2013

Duck with mushroom, wine sauce and walnuts and crispy skin

I needed a dish in quite tricky circumstances. It needed to pair with a 1996 Chateau de Pommard Burgundy. It needed to be held warm while other courses were being eaten, I wanted the skin crispy...
So I hit upon this. Rich enough with robust flavors to enhance the wine.
This is not for the faint hearted. Cooking the skin separately, having enough ovens, ... Quite the adventure. But a pretty good result.


2 Whole duck breasts (4 halves)
salt/pepper to coat
6 shallots in small dice
1 clove garlic (minced finely)
2T all purpose flour
1 lb mixed mushrooms. Mostly white,cut into quarters, but with some oyster mushrooms added.
1 cup red wine (preferably a Pinot Noir because of the pairing)
1 cup beef stock
1 envelope gelatin
2 T bitter orange marmalade - just the jelly, not the rind. Of course, I used home made!
1 bunch of parsley (minced finely)
1 bunch chives (finely chopped)
8 walnut halves - toasted to bring out the nuttiness


The method is very unconventional because of the need to hold the dish for at least 45 minutes.
Toast the walnut halves and set aside. Score the fatty side of the duck breasts deeply before coating with salt/pepper. Place the breasts skin side down in a very hot frying pan. I would not use non stick for this - and there is no need. If the pan is hot enough, the breasts won't stick. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes over high heat on the first side. Turn them and cook for a coupl eof minutes on the second side. They will not be cooked, but the skin will be a deep cherry wood color.
Remove from the heat. Pour most of the fat off (leaving a few Tbs behind) and reserving the rest.. Slice the skin from the duck breasts and slice into thin strips (1/4"). Reserve the skin.
Make the sauce by cooking the shallots in the duck fat for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, cover and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, gently. Stir occasionally. While the mushrooms are cooking, bloom the gelatin in the beef stock. This handy trick gives the mouthfeel of a rich veal stock, but without the effort. Thanks to America's test Kitchen!
When the mushrooms are cooked, add the flour and stir, making a roux. Add the wine, the stock and the orange marmalade and reduce the sauce by about half.
Before serving fry the duck skin strips in the duck fat until they are crispy (a guest described them like chicharrones). Sear the exposed side of the duck breasts in the fat used to fry the skin. cover and place in a 450 degree oven for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove immdeiately to a warm oven to hold.
When ready to serve, stir most of the parsley/chives into the sauce. heat through. Slice the breasts thinly, place in a small bowl, layer the saue on, sprinkle a little of the remaining parsley/chive mixture on top as a garnish. Decorate with walnut half and serve

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