Duck Breast with Mapled Winter Squash & Harriet Brewing Company’s Divine Oculust

A Farm to Table Recipe Presented by Dinner on the Farm

Recipe by Marshall Paulsen, Birchwood Cafe

Winter is upon us. Embracing the flavors and special ingredients of this season is not only a delicious way to enjoy a meal, it also helps support local farms throughout the cold months, when their fields are covered with snow. Marshall Paulsen, chef at the Birchwood Cafe in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis, treats us to a recipe using three fantastic winter ingredients: farm-raised duck, winter squash, and maple syrup. What better time than winter to slow down, light some candles, put your favorite cooking music on, and chop, stir and sauté by the warmth of the oven, filling your house with the mouthwatering smells of a home-cooked supper as the snow swirls around outside your window. While the duck is definitely the superstar of this dish, maple syrup and winter squash shine as a side. And don’t underestimate the amazing winter goodness of sautéed sunchokes and brussels sprouts, which are now in their prime. To finish off the plate, Chef Paulsen suggests a cranberry gastrique, adding a sweet, tart and delicious pairing with the tender duck breast. Enjoy this restful time of nesting and celebrating life. Set the table and invite your loved ones to join you and savor the tastes of this soft, magical season.

Featured Beer Pairing: Harriet Brewing Co‘s Divine Oculust

For Duck Breast:

Duck Breast
4 breasts
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

1) Score the skin of the duck breast
2) Season with salt & black pepper
3) In sauté pan heated with vegetable oil, sear the breast skin-down until golden, then flip over and cook in a 400° oven until medium rare (130-135°, about 5-10 minutes).

For Duck Leg & Thigh:

4 legs & thighs
1 large yellow onion, rough chopped
1 bulb garlic, peeled
1 bunch rosemary
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted
1 tsp allspice
4 cups duck fat*

1) In a food processor, puree the onion, garlic, rosemary, salt, black peppercorns & allspice for 30-60 seconds until a paste forms. Coat the meat thickly on all sides in the mixture, put in a freezer bag, and refrigerate for 12-18 hrs.
2) After the 12-18 hrs, rinse the meat under cold water until the coating is removed. Pat dry with paper towels.
3) Preheat oven to 300°
4) In a large sauce pot or dutch oven over medium heat, liquefy the duck fat. Add the meat to the pan, completely submerging them in the fat. Transfer the pot to the 300° oven and cook until tender (4-6 hrs).
5) With a slotted spoon, remove the meat. Take off the skin, then pull the meat off the bones. Strain the warm duck fat, then resubmerge the meat in the duck fat. Allow to chill while in the duck fat.
6) To store the pulled meat (for up to a month or so), keep it in the refrigerator submerged in the fat. To serve, simply heat it up in a pan with a spoonful of fat.

*If you have a whole duck from where the leg, thigh & breast came from, roast the carcass at 300° until all of the fat is rendered (about 45-60 minutes). If you are unable to do so, purchase duck fat from Clancy’s Meat & Fish in Linden Hills or from Heartland Farm Direct Market in St. Paul.

Mapled Squash:

2 winter squash*
1/2cup heavy cream
1 tbsp softened butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
Salt to taste

1) Preheat oven to 400°.
2) Carefully halve the squash, and scoop the seeds out.
3) Place squash flesh-side down on a sheet tray lined with oiled parchment paper. Bake the squash at 400° for 45-60 minutes.
4) While wearing an oven mitt or using a dry towel, scoop the baked flesh out of the charred squash rind. Transfer immediately to a stand mixer bowl or pass through a potato ricer.
5) Whip or whisk in the cream, butter, the maple syrup and salt.
6) Taste it and add as much more maple syrup as you see fit!

*Some common, familiar squash are butternut, acorn, pie pumpkin, kabocha, kuri, etc, however… there are hundreds of different varieties available. Try something new!

Sunchokes & Brussels Sprouts:

Brussels sprouts
Black pepper

1) Boil a large pot of heavily salted water.
2) Rinse your sunchokes, then chop them.
3) Snip your Brussels sprouts at the base and peel outer leaves.
4) Blanche each in the boiling salted water for 60 seconds and shock in an ice water bath immediately afterwards.
5) Drain and allow to fully dry.
6) In a sauté pan, heat the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts & sunchokes and sauté until golden. Season to taste.

Cranberry Gastrique

1 1/2 cups cranberries
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1) In a small sauce pan, bring all ingredients to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. It should reduce a little bit.
2) Puree at high speed in a blender.
3) Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing it through with a rubber spatula.
4) Allow to cool to room temperature.
5) Serve with the duck.

Harriet Brewing photo by Karl Pearson-Cater,

Dinner On The Farm creates unique events designed to celebrate and support local farms, chefs, breweries, restaurants and other small businesses. 

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