In The Kitchen with Chef Travis
In the midst of a busy holiday season, we tapped Executive Chef Travis Soward for his favorite festive recipe. This holiday duck recipe is sure to be enjoyed by all:
1 whole Duck (5.5#-6.5#)
2 large heads Red cabbage
1/3 cup Red wine vinegar
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
3 T Sugar
1 cup Red Wine
3 heads Baby Fennel, split in half
When blanching green vegetables, you need 1.5 cups of salt per gallon of water.
How to make the mix of salt, sugar, herbs and spices: Mix by hand 2 cups salt, 1 cup sugar, a couple sprigs of thyme and rosemary, a few bay leaves, and a pinch of toasted black peppercorns, fennel seed and coriander
Duck reduction: The duck reduction is made by roasting the bones of the duck for about 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven or until golden brown. Cover the roasted bones with white chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste, one chopped onion, one chopped carrot, one chopped celery stalk, a pinch of peppercorns, and a handful of thyme and 2-3 bay leaves. Let simmer overnight and strain the next day. Skim off all the fat and reduce until it coats a spoon.
The warmed fennel is placed on top of the breast and we sauce the duck with the duck reduction, a pinch of Maldon salt and pinch of fennel pollen. We use whole Rohan Ducks from Dartagnan and they are raised in upstate NY. When we receive the ducks the legs get removed and we cure them in a mix of salt, sugar, herbs and spices overnight. The next day we confit them in duck fat at 225 degrees for 4 hours or until the thigh bone is easily removed. After the bone has been removed they are pressed overnight.
The breasts stay on the bone for at least 3 days so they can dry out and concentrate their flavor.
The red cabbage is sliced thinly, sautéed and then we add red wine vinegar to set the color of the cabbage. Once the color is set we add caraway seeds, sugar and red wine and cook until the cabbage is tender and glossy. We use a ratio 3 parts red wine to 1 part red wine vinegar.
The baby fennel is cut in half, blanched in salty water, and iced down.
We remove the duck breast from the bone and in a pan over low heat we render the fat until it crisps up and we baste the duck with butter and herbs until it is the desired temperature of Medium Rare. The duck breast rests for about 10 minutes to let all the juices distribute. In the meantime the duck leg has been cooking in a small amount of oil in a non-stick pan to get crispy and warmed through.
To plate the dish we warm up the red cabbage in a small pot and the fennel in a small amount of olive in a separate pot. The cabbage is plated in the center of the plate and the duck breast is sliced and served on top of the cabbage with the crispy duck leg propped up next to it. The warmed fennel is placed on top of the breast and we sauce the duck with a duck reduction, Maldon salt and fennel pollen.