Saturday, May 26, 2012

Duck Roulades with Blackberry Gastrique and Duck Cracklings

Something about duck just screams French to me. I took the roulades from the French Laundry cookbook, and got the gastrique recipe from
I don’t usually cook specifically French food, but I’ve been exposed to various techniques of French cooking when making, say, mac and cheese using a b├ęchamel. Gastrique is something new to me and I thought the flavor was really interesting; it’s like a fruity tasting sweet and sour sauce, and somehow works well with duck.

Roulades (for 1 serving):

1 duck breast
1 large leaf of swiss chard or savoy cabbage
Salt and pepper
Ground allspice

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the chard/cabbage leaf for 3-4 minutes, until tender and remove to an ice water bath to stop cooking. Dry with paper towels. Remove the skin from the duck breast (don’t even think about tossing it – we’ll be rendering fat and making cracklings with it), and season with salt/pepper/allspice.

Lay a large piece of saran wrap lengthwise on a flat surface, and place the chard/cabbage leaf in the center. Roll the duck breast lengthwise (aka hot dog style), and place the breast on the chard/cabbage. Trim the chard so it’s more or less a rectangle, the width of the duck, and wide enough to wrap around the breast once. Wrap the chard around the breast, then wrap the plastic around the chard. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap in opposite directions, so the plastic becomes taught around the chard and helps make a perfect cylinder. Tie the ends of the plastic wrap together, and refrigerate for an hour or two (or more).

When it’s getting to be about dinner time, bring a pot of water to 190°F, and add the roulade (still in the plastic). Be sure to adjust the heat as needed to keep the temp at 190, and cook for 6-7 minutes for medium rare, 7-8 minutes for medium. Remove the roulade and let rest for 2-3 minutes before cutting.

Blackberry Gastrique

½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
½ cup Red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Red Wine
2/3 Cup fresh blackberries
2 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper

Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir the mixture, but rotate the pan around occasionally to evenly cook the mixture until is becomes a blonde caramel color, about 5 minutes Add the red wine vinegar, and cook for 3 minutes longer. Add the red wine, and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, until the mixture starts to become syrupy. Add the blackberries and thyme, and continue to cook until the blackberries start to break down, another few minutes. The sauce should be sort of syrupy when it’s done. Remove the pan from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. You can make this ahead and refrigerate the sauce, reheating before serving.

Duck Cracklings:

Remember the skin from the duck breast? Cut it into a few pieces, approximately 1 inch each, and place in a cold pan. Turn the heat to medium, and cook the skin for about 8 minutes, flipping as needed, until crispy. Take a coffee filter and place it in a pyrex measuring cup/other container and pour the rendered fat through. Refrigerate, and use judiciously to make everything awesome.


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