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Duck Breast and Wild Mushroom Chili, con frijoles April 18, 2009

Posted by pcorcoran in Duck, Entree, Mushrooms, Recipe, Soup.
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Breasts from 4 Pekin ducks, boneless and skinless
3-1/2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
1 lb. yellow onion, coarsely chopped
12 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Gebhardt chili powder
3 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground sumac
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. sesame oil

12 oz. fresh wild mushrooms *
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. cumin seed
1/2 tsp. coriander seed
1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 lb. dried pinto beans
2 dried California chiles, shredded
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 habanero pepper
2 qt. chicken stock
5 tbsp. sherry vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 cups Italian parsley, coarse chop
salt

Duck Prep:
Dice the duck breasts.  Heat sesame oil in large stock pot on medium-high heat.  Add duck and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add onions and garlic, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, oregano, sumac, onion powder and garlic powder.  Stir, reduce heat to medium, cover.  Stir every few minutes and prepare mushrooms.

Mushroom Prep:
Clean and chop the mushrooms.  In a small skillet, toast cumin seed and coriander seed over medium flame until displaying first signs of smoking.  Remove from heat, let cool for a minute.  Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in large skillet.  Add chopped mushrooms; add dried thyme and toasted spice mix.  Cook mushrooms until they have released most of their moisture, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat; add mushrooms to duck and tomato mixture.

Chili:
Add chicken stock and 2 cups water to main stock pot.  Bring to a boil at maximum heat, stirring often.  Once boiling, add dried beans, dried chiles, black peppercorns, bay leaf, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons vinegar.  Add one cup parsley.  Mix.

Reduce heat to medium for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  For spicy chili, chop habanero pepper finely and add to stock pot.  For a milder chili, place the whole habanero pepper in a tea ball or cloth spice sack.

Reduce to very low heat, cover chili pot, and let cook for 8 hours.  Keep covered.  Stir thoroughly every 30-60 minutes.  Add water as needed if chili becomes too dry.

After 8 hours, remove the bay leaf from the chili.  Remove the habanero pepper if steeping in a tea ball, squeezing the juices back into chili and stirring well.  Salt the chili to taste.

Remove chili from heat and let cool to room temperature for a few hours or overnight.  (It’s ok to let it stand covered overnight at normal room temperatures.)

Before serving, bring chili back to a boil and stir in remaining cup chopped parlsey.  Enjoy.

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* For mushrooms, I used a combination of Hen of the Woods, King Oyster, and White Beech.  The White Beech retained their shape through the entire cook, so if you like seeing cute little mushrooms in your chili, this might be for you.  The other two varieties disappearing into the mix and therefore probably added more to the overall flavor.

Duck Legs braised in Port-Soaked Cherries October 17, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Duck, Entree, Recipe.
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6 large duck legs, including thighs
1 tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly toasted
1-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. allspice berries
1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 tsp. fleur de sel (or coarse salt)
1 cup tawny port
1/2 cup dried cherries, unsweetened
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken stock

Time to prepare: 3 hours + overnight prep.

Difficulty: 6/10

Serves: 6

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There are five general steps to preparing this dish:

1. Prep – Duck is coated in a dried spice mix and refrigerated overnight. (Overnight)
2. Sear – Duck is browned in a hot pan. (30 minutes)
3. Prepare Braising Liquid. (10 minutes)
4. Braise – Duck is cooked in braising liquid, covered, for two hours. (2 hours)
5. Finish – Duck is dry-cooked, and sauce is made from braising liquid. (20 minutes)

Step One – Prep

Duck legs: Without cutting into skin, trim off excess fat. Place legs in a shallow bowl or sealable plastic bag. In a spice grinder or a mortar, combine coriander, peppercorns and allspice, and grind until coarse. Mix in thyme and coarse salt. Rub mixture evenly over duck legs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cherries: Soak cherries in port, covered, for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Step Two – Searing

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat a shallow braising pan or skillet to medium-hot. (I have made this dish using only a single shallow braising pan or bistro pan for steps 2 through 4. Some people prefer to use a separate skillet and braising pan, for the searing and the braising, respectively.) Sear 3 duck legs, skin side down for 8 minutes. Leave them undisturbed, checking only to ensure that they are not aticking and burning onto the pan. There is no need to add oil or butter to the pan before searing — enough fat from the duck will coat the pan suitably within seconds. Turn legs over and sear for 4 minutes. Remove duck legs and drain excess fat from pan. Repeat process for the other 3 duck legs. Reserve one tbsp. of duck fat after searing.

Step Three – Braising Liquid

Return searing pan to medium heat with 1 tbsp. duck fat. Add sliced shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add cherries and port-soak to pan and reduce by half. Add stock and bay leaves and simmer until reduced by half.

Step Four – Braising

Arrange duck legs flat in the bottom of a shallow braising pan or bistro pan. Pour braising liquid over duck. Cover pan with parchment paper and close lid. Cook in the oven for 1 hour. Turn duck legs over and cook for 1 more hour. Reduce heat to 275 or 300 if liquid appears to be evaporating rapidly.

Step Five – Finishing

Remove braise from the oven. Turn on broiler. Remove duck legs from liquid and transfer to a baking sheet, skin side up. Broil duck legs on middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes, or until skin is crisp. Remove duck legs from broiler, cover, and keep warm until served (holding warm duck no longer than 15 minutes.)

While duck is broiling, prepare a sauce from braising liquid. Using a gravy separator or a large flat spoon, remove as much fat and oil from liquid as possible. “Hammer” braising liquid in a sauce pot at highest possible heat until thick and saucy, adding salt and pepper to taste if needed. (Do not over-reduce sauce or it will burn.)

Serve duck leg, accompanied by sauce.

If holding for one or two days, store duck legs and sauce separately in refrigerator. Skim fat from sauce before reheating. Gently re-heat duck legs in sauce, adding 1 or 2 tbsp. of water if needed. Finish duck legs under broiler, as above, and serve immediately.