Monday, December 22, 2014

Duck Ravioli with Seared Foie Gras

Okay, so maybe I went a little over the top here. This takes some serious time and money investment – I split the work over two days, doing the just, duck meat and cracklings on day one. Day two was making the ravioli and fillings, and the extra mushrooms/chard for the plate. Once all the crazy prep is done, this is actually quick and easy to cook, as long as you have your mise all set and plan out what need to be cooked when in your head. I got 13 ravioli – 4 was a sizable serving, because these were some jumbo ravioli. Duck just is probably enough for twice that, I froze the extra. Adjust other ingredients accordingly if you’re trying to scale this.

Duck Jus:
Duck carcass (see below for details)
1 onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
Black peppercorns
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups red wine
7 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons duck fat

The easiest way to do all this might be to roast the whole duck and divide it up afterwards; I thought I would just need to use 2 legs to get the meat for the ravioli filling, but in the end I used two breasts and one leg; Do whatever you need to do, but here’s the way I ended up going about this:

Remove the wings, legs, and breasts from the duck. Set aside the legs and breasts. Remove any remaining skin from the carcass – we’re reserving this for fat rendering and cracklings.

Place the remainder of the duck carcass on a baking tray along with the wings and the duck neck. Roast at 400°F for about 40 minutes, until everything has some nice color on it. Flip about halfway through.
Drain and save any fat on the pan. Cut the carcass into chunks and set aside along with the neck and wings.

In a stockpot over medium heat, add two teaspoons of duck fat and the onions/carrots/celery. Cook for 5 minutes until softened, then add the tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes, allowing the paste to start to caramelize. Add in the wine and reduce until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

Add in the chicken stock, reserved duck bones, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. The liquid should be covering everything – if not add water until it does.

Simmer for 4 to 5 hours, then strain through a cheesecloth into a smaller pot. Discard the solids, and place the sauce back on a simmer and reduce until you have 3 to 4 cups of jus.


Take the excess skin you removed from the duck and place it in a cold pan. Set the heat to low, and allow all the fat to render out, occasionally draining the fat through a strainer and saving it – this stuff is liquid gold so we’re keeping as much of it as possible.

Eventually all the fat will render, and the skin will start to brown. This could take in the neighborhood of 45 minutes depending on the heat in the pan, but that’s not set in stone. Once the skin is nice and brown, remove it from the pan. Chop into bite sized pieces.

Duck meat:

2 duck breasts
1 duck leg

Again, maybe not the optimum way to do this, but this is what I ended up doing. For the leg, roast at 400°F until it hits an internal temp of 165°F. For the breasts, place in a pan on medium heat, skin side down. Allow the fat to render until the skin starts to brown. Turn up the heat and get a nice color on the skin side. Flip, and cook briefly on the meat side, about a minute or two. Breasts should take 20 minutes to cook.

Remove the meat from the breasts and leg, and chop finely for ravioli filling.

Ravioli filling:
Reserved duck meat
½ pound crimini mushrooms, roughly choped
4 small shallots
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper

In a pan over medium heat, add some duck fat and the chopped mushrooms. Season with salt and cook for 4 minutes. Add the shallots and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes. Dump mushrooms and shallots in a bowl along with reserved duck meat, thyme, and some salt and pepper as needed.

Pasta dough:
9 ounces flour
6 ounces eggs (3 large eggs)
1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

I add the flour in a large bowl and weigh it out, then form a well in the middle and add eggs. If your eggs don’t quite weight 6 ounces, add a little water to make up the difference. Beat the eggs, slowly incorporating in the flour.

Once all the flour gets incorporated, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 7 minutes. The dough should have a velvety texture. Spritz a piece of saran wrap with cooking spray and place the dough ball on top. Hit the dough with an additional spritz of cooking spray and wrap with the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Use a pasta machine to roll the dough out in two sheets. Spoon the filling onto one pasta sheet – I used about 1.5 tablespoons per ravioli? They ended up pretty big – I ended up with 13 all together.

Once the filling is spooned onto a pasta, make an egg wash by combining 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash around the each mound of filling. Take the second pasta sheet, and place it over the filling. Press the pasta together, removing air pockets as you go, and sealing the raviolis. Use a pizza cutter to separate and trim excess.

For the third sheet, place filling on one half, hit it with the egg wash and then fold over and seal.

If you’re making these ahead of time, place raviolis on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and lightly floured and stick in the freezer. Once frozen, place into a Ziploc bag.

Bringing it all together:
Duck Jus
Handful of small crimini muchrooms (or quarter larger ones)
Olive oil
Swiss chard
Duck raviolis
Foie Gras slices (mine came pre sliced, if you have a whole lobe you’ll have to look elsewhere on how to prep it)

Place the mushrooms and a small baking dish and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Assuming you made the cracklings and duck jus ahead of time like I did, warm them up in the oven with a few minutes remaining.

For the swiss chard, wash and chop roughly. Add some oil in a pan over medium and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until wilted, tossing some salt on for good measure.

For the ravioli, bring a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the ravioli for 3 minutes (5 if frozen).

For the foie, score on one side with a knife (optional, strictly for presentation purposes – my score marks didn’t turn out super fantastic, but oh well). Salt liberally. Heat a cast iron or other sturdy pan on high – get it really hot now – and sear the foie gras for 30 seconds per side. That’s it, seriously foie gras is that easy to cook (if it comes sliced for you).

Place the chard and raviolis on the plate. Pour over duck jus. Top with roasted mushrooms and cracklings. Place seared foie gras on everything and dig in, because you’ve earned it.