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Pan-seared Duck Breast with Caramelized Root Vegetables and Duck Leg Hash

Description

Michael Pryor fondly recalls the root cellar under the kitchen of his grandparents' home. "The cellar was a culinary gold mine; onions, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, squashes and Brussels sprouts were common finds." Pryor, chef at the Langtry and Guenoc wineries  in southern Lake County, spent his boyhood holidays at the grandparents' house in rural, upstate New York. "The centerpiece of the meal was often something that my grandfather had hunted, typically venison or a game bird of some kind supplemented with  a bounty of homegrown vegetables." Inspired by those memories, he still serves game birds during the holidays. "Duck is one of  my favorites and I often make this dish for my California friends," he says. "It really satisfies the soul as well as the stomach." The flavors in this dish call for a wine with earthiness, spice and perhaps a touch of animal. The full-bodied, smoky 2005 Langtry Estate Serpentine Meadow Vineyard Petite Syrah is a fine choice. Another duck-friendly possibility is a richer style (almost Syrah-like) New World Pinot Noir. —Steve Heimoff

Wine pairing: The flavors in this dish call for a wine with earthiness, spice and perhaps a touch of animal. The full bodied, smoky 2005 Langtry Estate Serpentine Meadow Vineyard Petite Syrah is a fine choice. Another duck-friendly possibility would be a richer style (almost Syrah-like) New World Pinot Noir.

Category
Entrées
Cuisine
American/New American
Source
Michael Pryor
Number of Servings
Serves four
Ingredients
For the braised duck leg:
2 tablespoons duck fat
2 large duck leg quarters
¼ cup onion, peeled, diced
¼ cup celery diced
1/8 cup carrot, peeled, diced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
¾ cup dry red wine
2 cups duck stock, roasted chicken stock, or chicken stock
3 or 4 pieces dried porcini
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

For the hash:
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ cup celery root, peeled, small diced
½ cup parsnip, peeled, small diced
½ cup carrot, peeled, small diced
½ cup turnip, peeled, small diced
½ cup rutabaga, peeled, small diced
½ cup Yukon gold potato, peeled, small diced
1 tablespoon duck fat
¼ cup onion, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 scallions, sliced
Reserved shredded duck leg meat
Salt and pepper to taste

For the finished dish:
Reserved duck braising liquid
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh black winter truffle
4 small duck breasts, 5-6 ounces each
Reserved duck leg hash
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
To braise the duck: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small, enameled cast iron pot, heat the duck fat over medium heat and very lightly season the duck legs with salt and pepper. Brown the duck legs in the fat and remove. Add the onion, celery and carrot and lightly caramelize. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute more, then add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the duck stock, dried porcini, bay leaf and thyme to the pot. Bring to a simmer, add the duck legs, cover the pot tightly and place in the oven. Cook until the duck legs are very tender, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the duck legs from the pot to cool. Strain the sauce, degrease and reserve for the finished dish. Pull the meat from the duck legs and shred. Finely chop the duck skin if desired and add to the meat. Reserve for the hash.

To make the hash: Toss each of the root vegetables and potato with just enough canola oil to coat, season lightly with salt and pepper and roast each vegetable separately in a 375 degree oven until cooked through and lightly caramelized. Heat the duck fat in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the root vegetables and the thyme and stir to combine. Add the scallions and duck meat and cook for a minute more. Adjust seasoning and reserve the hash for plating.

To finish the dish: In a small saucepan, reheat the duck braising liquid and reduce to sauce consistency. Stir in the black truffle, taste for seasoning and hold. With a sharp knife, score the duck breasts on the skin side in a cross hatch pattern. Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold the duck breasts over medium heat. Season the breasts with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, for 5-6 minutes to brown and render some of the fat. Turn the heat up to high, and turn the breasts, searing for 2-3 minutes on the other side for medium rare. Remove from the pan and let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Reheat the hash and put a small amount on 4 serving plates. Slice the duck thinly and arrange around the hash. slightly overlapping it. Spoon the warm sauce around and serve.
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