Chef's Quick Tip: Magret Duck and Huckleberries

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This week, Chef Ian Hock of Jesup Hall in Westport shows Tina Redwine how to make American dishes including sustainable meats and salads. 

 

Magret Duck and Huckleberries

Huckleberries:
2# huckleberries
1/2c sugar
1c saba
2T black pepper
maldon salt

We use fresh huckleberries but frozen huckleberries or blueberries will work just as well. Place the product in a small short pot add the berries to the pot with sugar and half the saba. Cook until the berries are tender but not broken down—strain and reserve the liquid. Place the liquid back in the pot and reduce and thick enough to glaze the berries at room temperature. You can test this by using the cold plate: if the sauce is thick enough it will stand up and resist dripping when the plate is tilted.

Duck:
We use magret ducks but you can use rohan if you can’t get your hands on the other stuff. We brine our ducks the night before which helps to insure even seasoning and cook temperature.
Brine:
General ratio is 4T salt to 4C of a water. To cover one breast you probably need 8C of water depending on the size of the container but you could do as little as 4C. Let sit over night.

The following day we remove the duck from the brine, pat dry and score the duck breast on the skin side with a cross hatch pattern. This helps the smoke penetrate the skin and allows the skin to render more evenly (more on this in a second). We smoke our duck over cherry wood chips that have not been treated with any chemicals. You can find the same through most online retailers. Soak the chips for 15-20 minutes before using to help reduce the amount of hot smoke produced (you want smoke not flames!)

When the duck skin has taken on some color and a mild smoke flavor remove from the smoker and begin to render in a non-stick pan over low-medium heat. Render until the flesh begins to firm slightly and turns a light to medium brown. If you're not developing color it’s probably because they didn’t smoke for long enough. Don’t let them go for too long your they’ll over cook. Allow the duck to rest in a cool place for 5-10 minutes and chill in your fridge.

Assembly:
Place a little oil in a pan over medium high heat and place the duck breast in immediately. When the pan begins to sizzle reduce the heat to medium—check the skin side every few minutes. When you’ve got good color and crispy skin turn the heat off and place the breast in the pan skin side up. let rest for 5 minutes. Trim the breast into a rough rectangle and slice down the middle length wise. Turn the cut sides up. Garnish with the reserved fat from the pan, Maldon salt and two heaping mounds of the huckleberry sauce.

 

Chef Ian Hock
Jesup Hall
90 Post Rd. E
Westport, CT
203-557-6198

 

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