I love eating duck. It’s one of those meats that you have to cook right. In school, during level 6, I didn’t like cooking this dish because it originally had veal stock in it. Since I’m allergic to beef/veal, I couldn’t eat it. I could only nibble the ends of each breast. I remember storing all the ends in a quart container and then I devoured them after class. When you’re in saucier, you don’t have time to get family meal (on Thursdays and Saturdays).
When I was going grocery shopping for my ingredients, my family friends kept on asking where I would buy duck. WHOLE FOODS!!! WHOLE FOODS HAS EVERYTHING!!! That’s my answer to everything! *Ok, Whole Foods didn’t have the mixed colored fingerling potatoes that day so I had to substitute with regular fingerling potatoes.
I scaled down the recipe for the yield of one duck; one duck serves 4 portions. I made four times this recipe for the dinner party that I had yesterday.
For the Duck
- 1 Peking duckling
- Duck bones from the duck
- Canola oil, as needed
- ½ onion, chopped roughly
- ½ large carrot, chopped roughly
- 1 celery stalk, chopped roughly
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 8 cups chicken stock
- Bouquet garni in cheesecloth
- Mushroom trims, if available (I used the trims from the stuffed eggs)
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 375-400°F.
Butcher and quarter the duck. Manchonner the legs and score the breasts. Cut away as much fat as possible. Breakdown the carcass. Place scored breasts into the fridge.
In a large pan, sauté bones until golden brown; add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Continue sautéing on medium heat. *If using more than one duck, brown bones in the oven at 450°F.
In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil.
In a separate pan, heat some oil. Season duck legs with salt and pepper, then sear in hot pan, to develop some color. Turn heat for duck legs down to medium and let it render out some fat. You only need to sear and cook the skin-side of the duck legs. The skin of the duck legs should be a golden brown color before going onto the next step.
Transfer legs, skin side up, on top of bones and vegetables. Add enough hot chicken stock to cover duck three-quarters of the way up. Add the bouquet garni, mushroom trimmings, cover with lid or aluminum foil and braise the legs until tender, about an hour. Make sure the stock is bubbling/boiling before you put it into the oven.
When legs are done, remove from oven and let it cool slightly. Strain braising liquid and reserve 1qt for the sauce. Reserve duck legs in remaining liquid and keep warm.
For the Sauce
- 3 TBS butter
- 2 large shallots, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1¼ cups dried sour cherries
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
- ¾ cup honey
- 1 cup red verjus or red wine
- 5 cups duck braising liquid
- Bouquet garni
- Salt & pepper
Caramelize the honey. When the honey is bubbling and golden, add the verjus to it. Add in chopped shallots and crushed garlic. Reduce until syrupy then add in the hot duck braising liquid. Add a loose bouquet garni and the dried sour cherries, and reduce by two-thirds. Strain through a fine sieve. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add the fresh cherries and continue to reduce, on low-medium heat, until there is some body to the sauce. If sauce is not thickening, add some beurre manié. Keep warm until ready to serve.
For the Potato Beet Salad
- 1 lb mixed colored Pee Wee potatoes
- ½ lb baby yellow beets
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 thyme sprigs
In two separate pots, boil potatoes and beets in cold water. In the potatoes, do not season with salt. Add 1 bay leaf and 2 thyme sprigs. In the beets, season with some salt, and add 1 bay leaf and 2 thyme springs. For both of them, cook until tender.
Let potatoes and beets cool in their cooking liquid. Peel the beets when still warm and cut into small segments. Cut potatoes in half or thin rounds.
For the Herb Salad
- ¼ cup parsley leaves
- 10 chives, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 head frisée, only white and light green parts
- ¼ cup shallots, finely minced
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
Frisée and herbs should be washed before cutting. Before serving, frisée should be kept in ice water and chives & parsley should be covered with a damp paper towel.
Preheat oven to 500°F.
Season duck breasts with salt & pepper, turn heat to low and place a large pan on the stove. Place breast in the pan with skin-side down. Render the fat to all the breasts slowly. Every 5 minutes, pour away rendered fat. After 20-30 minutes, turn breast around and cook flesh side for 3 seconds and remove from pan and place on a wire rack, skin-side up, to rest.
For the braised legs, cut along the joint to separate leg and thigh. Only add a little braising liquid to the pan and have legs and thighs skin-side up. Place on low heat and once braising liquid starts to bubble and reduce, spoon the liquid over all the legs every 5 minutes. When the legs have reached a nice glaze color to them, keep warm and set aside.
In a salad spinner, dry the frisée leaves. In a pan, sweat the shallots in some olive oil then add cut potatoes and beets. Once warm, remove from heat. Add frisée and herbs to potatoes and beets. Season with salt & pepper, and EVOO.
Flash heat the duck breasts in the hot oven for 5 minutes. Take it out and let it rest for a minute before you start slicing. One portion includes: half a breast, either the leg or thigh, warm salad, and sauce. Plate to your liking or in picture (above).