Vanilla Scented Breast of Duck with Caramelized Salsify & Herb Polenta

Joined Mar 11, 2007
2 Peking ducks
1 ounce thyme chopped fine
1 ounce chives chopped fine
1 ounce parsley chopped fine
vanilla bean
kosher salt
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
5 shallots chopped fine
2 tablespoons of honey
3 bay leaves
black peppercorns
4 medium onions cut small
2 carrots cut small
2 stalks celery cut small
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 head of garlic cut medium
1 1/2 gallons cold water
2 cups red wine
2 ears fresh corn
1 cup peas
1/2 cup salsify
1 shot jack Daniel's
1 cup instant polenta
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan


Prepare the Duck

Remove duck breast and leg meat reserving all of the remaining duck bones.
Trim off remaining fat around breasts and thighs.
Place breasts on sheet pan uncovered in refrigerator for 3 days to air dry.
Marinate the duck legs in a sealed container with red wine, shallots, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tablespoon of black peppercorns and 1/4 ounce of thyme.


Prepare the Vanilla Salt

Dry a split vanilla bean for 2-3 days at room temperature uncovered.
Grind the dry bean in a coffee grinder and add it to 2 tablespoons of salt.


Prepare the Duck Stock

Roast the duck bones at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Roast 3 of the onions, carrots and celery at 350 degrees until they are translucent.
Add all ingredients into a two gallon stock pot with cold water 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns, 1/2 head of garlic, and 1/4 ounce of thyme.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 hours skimming the fat that comes to the top.
Strain and cool the stock in a ice bath.


Prepare the Duck Legs

Strain the duck legs and reserve all ingredients.
Heat up a medium sized sauté pan and brown duck legs skin side down in 1 tablespoon of butter.
Add vegetables from the marinade and turn duck legs over, sauté over medium heat until golden brown and vegetables are translucent.
Remove duck legs and add 2 cups of red wine to the pan and reduce the wine with the vegetables by 1/2.
Place the legs back in the pan, skin side up, and add half of the duck stock with 3 pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Bring to a boil and simmer very slowly (covered), stirring occasionally until tender (2-3 hours).
When tender remove legs and save the remaining liquid for the sauce.


Prepare the Sauce

Slowly sweat 1 onion, 1 bay leaf and 4 peppercorns in a 2 quart sauce pan with 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent.
Then add honey to the onions and caramelize until golden brown.
Add the sherry vinegar and reduce to a syrup consistency.
Add the duck stock, remaining braising liquid, and bring to a boil.
Simmer at medium heat until the sauce has reduced by 75% (skimming of impurities along the way).
Strain and add a shot of Jack Daniel's


Prepare the Polenta

Bring the water, cream, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 2 quart sauce pan.
Add polenta slowly whisking constantly and simmering for 5 min.
Remove from heat and fold in 3 tablespoons of butter, parmesan cheese, and remaining herbs.
Cool in a tall small buttered cake pan until cold.
Cut polenta in small circles.
*Option: Can add the braised duck leg into the polenta


Prepare the Vegetables

Cut the corn from ear and blanch in boiling water for 1 min.
Peel and lice salsify thinly and sauté slowly with 1 teaspoon of butter until golden brown.
Warm the corn, peas, and salsify in a small sauté pan with salt and pepper when ready to serve.


Time To Eat

Very slowly heat the vanilla salted duck breasts skin side down in a medium sized sauce pan removing the duck fat from the pan as it is rendering. Cook until skin is crispy and turn over for 20 seconds.
Let the breasts rest, and then slice thin when ready to be served.
Sauté polenta in a non stick pan on both sides with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Warm the duck leg in a 350 degree oven.
Bon Appetite!
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