Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dinner = Pan Roasted Duck Breast + Heirloom Grains + Honey & Pear Vinaigrette

what you need:
for the vinaigrette:
Merlot, 2 cups
Shallots, chopped to a paste, 1 Tbsp.
Grapeseed Oil, 2 cups
Kosher Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Pear, peeled, cored, quartered, 4 each
Juniper Berries, 4 each, crushed
Star Anise, 1 each, crushed
Local Honey, 4 Tbsp.

for the heirloom grains:
Barley, 1/2 cup
Bulgur Wheat, 1/2 cup
Wild Rice, 1/2 cup
Red Quinoa, 1/2 cup
Radishes, chiffonade, 3 each
Scallions, thinly sliced, 1 each
Almonds, toasted, chopped, 1/4 cup
Italian Parsley, chopped, 1 Tbsp.
Vegetable Stock, 1 quart
Pear Vinaigrette, 1/4 cup
Arugula, 1 cup

for the duck:
7-8 oz. duck breasts, 5 each
salt, to taste
cracked pepper, to taste
how you make it:
for the vinaigrette:
1. In a sauce pot over medium heat, poach the pears in the red wine until tender. Remove the pears and set aside.
2. Add the shallots, juniper berries, star anise, and honey and reduce the mixture by half.
3. Strain the mixture and cool.
4. In a food processor, blend the wine mixture with the poached pears while slowly pouring in the grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

for the heirloom grains: 
1. Bring 1/2 of the vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan.
2. Add the barley and rice and cook uncovered for 40-45 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
3. Place the bulgur in a medium bowl and cover with one inch of 1 cup of boiling vegetable stock. Do the same for the quinoa.
4. Let the grains sit for 25 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
5. Mix all of the grains and the remaining ingredients together.
6. Toss all of the grains with pear vinaigrette.
7. When ready to serve the duck, heat the grains in a small amount of oil and toss in the arugula at the last second.

for the duck breasts:
1. Score the fat side of the duck breast in a cross-hatch pattern.
2. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Sear the duck breast fat side down over medium heat in a non-stick pan until the skin is nice and crispy . You will not need any oil for this process. The fat will render out of the duck as it cooks.
4. Flip the duck and cook for about 30-45 seconds.
5. Allow the duck to rest for 4-5 minutes. Slice into 3/4 inch pieces on a bias.

to finish:
1. Place about 5 ounces of the heated grain salad in the center of the plate.
2. Place the sliced duck breast on top of the salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

brian's wine pairing: 
A Right-Bank Bordeaux wine with it's rustic old world character will compliment the duck nicely. A Merlot based wine has the best of both worlds, very full bodied but elegant and fruity at the same time.

renee's nutrition note: 
A whole grain is a small, self contained seed. Each individual grain is made up of three main parts- the bran, germ and endosperm; these are rich in antioxidants, B Vitamins, and fiber. This powerful health promoter also helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and obesity. The more whole grains you eat, the more protection your body will get. If you are used to using refined grains such as white flour or rice, you can slowly start to substitute whole grains such as the barley, red quinoa, bulgur wheat and wild rice in this recipe.

music pairing: bonobo (feat. bajka) - walk in the sky

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