Roasted Duck with Pear-Sweet Potato Rosti
Sweet potato cake wedges form a base for slices of spiced roasted duck. The pears and spices are combined with wine and duck stock to create a rich sauce with great depth. Sauteed mushrooms are served as a side dish. The poached pears and beetroot and syrup garnish the dish.
- Pear Syrup
- Pears - 4
- Water - 1 quart
- Honey - 1 cup
- Lemons - 2, cut in half
- Whole black peppercorns - 1 tablespoon
- Pinch of saffron threads
- Star anise - 1
- Clove - 1
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Cinnamon Sticks - 3
- Pear peelings
- Duck Spice
- Ground cinnamon - nutmeg
- Nutmeg - 1 teaspoon
- Vanilla powder - 2 teaspoons
- Ground licorice - 2 teaspoons
- Dry Vermouth - 1/2 cup
- Ground ginger - 2 teaspoons
- Ducks - 2
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Sweet Potato Rosti
- Sweet potatoes - 1/2 pound, pared
- Clarified Butter (see Basics) - 1/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)
- Beetroots - 2 medium
- Herbed Mushrooms
- Mixed fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms - 3/4 pound
- Shallots - 2
- Butter - 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)
- Garlic Cloves - 2
- Thyme Sprigs - 1
- Duck Sauce
- Pear Syrup (above)
- Fig - 1, quartered
- Star anise - 1
- Cinnamon stick - 1
- Clarified Butter (see Basics) - 1 tablespoon
- Duck stock (see Basics) - 2 quarts
- Red wine vinegar - 3 tablespoons
- Dry Vermouth - 3 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Grand Marnier - 1 tablespoon
- Honey - 2 tablespoons
To make the pears and syrup: Peel the pears. Set the pears aside, wrapped in plastic wrap, and put all ingredients, including the pear peelings, in a pot. Simmer for 3 hours, until a syrup is created. Add the pears and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool in the poaching liquid, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Reserve the syrup (poaching liquid) for the sauce.
To make the duck: Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients for the duck spice together to form a paste. Cut the duck into 2 breast pieces and two legs. Trim the fat. Chop off the knobbed bone at the bottom of the drumstick, and expose some of the leg bone. Cut a slit in the thigh meat and tuck the exposed leg bone into the slit, forming a tight packet. Spread the spice paste on the bone side of the breasts. Heat the butter in an ovenproof saute pan or skillet and brown the duck pieces until golden, turning them once. Place the duck in the oven and cook for 20 - 25 minutes, until the juices run clear.
To prepare the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Shred the sweet potatoes into thin slices on a grater or mandoline. Toss the shreds with the clarified butter. Melt the unsalted butter in a medium ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat and add the potato, pressing the potato shreds into a cake. Cook 1 - 2 minutes, until slightly crusted on the bottom, then place in the oven. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the potato is softened and has formed a cake. Remove and cut into eighths.
To make the beet diamonds: Cover the beetroots with salted water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the beetroots are easily pierced with the point of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and drain, reserving the boiling liquid. Let the beets cool for 20 minutes. Cut off the ends and slip off the skins. Trim the beets into three-dimensional diamond shapes. Put the trimmings back in the boiling liquid, place over medium-high heat, and boil until the liquid has been reduced to a syrupy consistency. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and put the beet syrup in a squeeze bottle.
To prepare the mushrooms: Clean the mushrooms and cut into large pieces. Slice the shallots. Melt the butter in a medium saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat and saute the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme until the mushrooms are golden, 4 - 6 minutes.
To make the sauce: Cook the pear syrup (poaching liquid) and fig quarters over medium-high heat until the liquid has reduced by two thirds in volume. Place the star anise and cinnamon sticks in a medium saute pan or skillet with the butter and warm over medium heat for 3 minutes, tossing occasionally to blend the flavors. Strain the duck stock and stir it into the spices. Stir in the red wine vinegar and vermouth and cook for 2 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the butter, swirling the pan until the butter has melted. Stir in the Grand Marnier, honey, and reduced pear syrup. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
To serve: Remove the bones from the duck breasts and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Place a potato cake wedge on each serving plate. Put a beet diamond on each plate. Divide the duck dark meat among the plates and lean it against one side of the potato cakes. Divide the breast strips among the plates and arrange over the dark meat. Slice the pears in half, and slice the halves into narrow pieces, leaving them attached at the stem end. Fan a pear half on each plate. Add a scoop of mushrooms to each plate, and ladle the duck sauce over the meat and potato cake. Drizzle beet syrup around the plates as garnish.