This week’s cook-along recipe is for duck confit with Brussels sprouts adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller. Because of some over enthusiastic shopping on Gilt Groupe in the Accidental Locavore’s refrigerator were a lot of local Hudson Valley duck legs confit. You can make your own, or get them from Hudson Valley Fois Gras, or D”Artagnan. The other thing you’ll need is some garlic confit, which is super simple to make, and something you’ll be happy to have around the house. I’ve simplified it and served it as a main course, not a first course as he has it. Supposed to serve 4 as a first course:
- 4 pieces duck confit (excess fat scraped off)
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts (about 16), trimmed and cut in half lengthwise
- 1 small shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
- 12 cloves garlic confit (you could probably use some roasted garlic, but make the confit, you’ll be glad you did)
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche (if you were desperate you could substitute heavy cream, but cut back on the chicken stock)
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
Preheat the oven to 375. Steam the Brussels sprouts in the microwave on high for 4 minutes, until crisp tender, or steam them on the stove. Set aside. Heat a nonstick pan that will hold the duck legs in one layer over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the duck legs skin side down, and cook for 5-6 minutes until the skin is golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat, and spoon enough fat to cover the bottom of a baking dish big enough to hold the legs in one layer. Put the legs in, skin side up, and bake for 8 minutes until warmed through. Discard all but 2 teaspoons of fat from the pan (if you have a lot left, save it for sauteing potatoes or veggies). Return to medium high heat, add the shallots, thyme, and garlic confit. Sweat the shallots for a minute, then add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 2 minutes. Whisk in the mustard and creme fraiche. Add the Brussels sprouts, and simmer until the sprouts are warmed through, and the sauce has reduced to coat them. Remove from the heat and stir in the chives. Divide the Brussels sprouts and sauce among four plates, and top each with a duck leg. Serve and enjoy.
My rating: 3.5 stars. It was good but it was rich duck leg on top of rich Brussels sprouts. Needed some acid or brightness to lift it a little. I forgot the chives, so that might have done it. The sauce was a little thin, and I was worried about reducing it too much and turning the Brussels sprouts into mush. Next time less chicken broth, or reduce the sauce before adding the sprouts back in. It took about half an hour to make, if you had all the components. For a main course, you could add a side dish, like mashed potatoes, and it would be plenty of food. This would also work with a sauteed duck breast (see Frank’s rating), or even pork chops in place of the confit.
Frank’s rating: 4 stars. “Would be great if it wasn’t a leg”. “Bird legs, must be a Maxfield thing.”
What did you think?