This year, with smaller gatherings, why not give turkey a rest? I am challenging you to give this recipe a shot. In addition to it being absolutely delicious, it will help hone your knife skills as a chef.
The Duck Ballotine. This is my interpretation of a classic French dish. Here we will bone out a whole duck, make a forcemeat (sausage) from it's legs, stuff, roll and roast the Duck. The end result is beautiful and satisfying. As an added bonus, I have paired the duck with a simple, raw Brussels sprouts salad to contrast the richness of the duck that incorporates the liquid gold of duck fat. Happy Thanksgiving from my fire to yours!
1 Whole duck, deboned, reserve legs (watch accompanying video)
3/4 lb deboned duck legs
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch red chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage leaves
1/2 once gin
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
2 pints Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons roasted duck fat
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
salt and pepper
Season deboned duck well, on both sides, with salt and pepper and keep in the refrigerator until ready to stuff.
Combine the leg meat into a food processor or meat grinder with all of the seasonings and gin, process until sticky and homogenous.
Roll out duck, skin side down. Stuff the ground meat between the two breasts in a uniform channel so the meat cooks evenly.
Pull one side of the duck skin completely over the meat like a blanket. Fold the other widest part of the duck over the first flap you folded, pressing down to remove as much air as possible from the cavity. Fold the neck skin tightly over the other folds and finish with the skin fold closest to where the thighs were. Carefully flip the rolled duck over onto your surface and, again, gently squeeze to compress the forcemeat with the duck meat. Cut a 12 inch pieces of butchers twine and position it under the rolled duck at the longest longest point. Gently tie the butchers twine to hold the roll together. CAUTION: Do not wrench down on the duck, this is a gentle, but firm knot. Tie three event knots around the roll in the opposite direction of your first knot. At this point you could place your duck in the refrigerator overnight and roast the following day.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
Add three to four pieces of celery to the bottom of your roasting pan to act as a "rack" to roast your duck on. Placed Ballotine on top of the celery and transfer roasting pan into the over. Cook duck for twenty minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F; cook duck for an additional one hour and 10 minutes or until internal temperature is 135 degrees F.
When the Ballotine is done, carefully remove from the oven and allow to rest for fifteen minutes.
Meanwhile, collect three tablespoons of duck fat from the roasting pan and set aside.
Thinly slice Brussels sprouts either by hand or with the use of a mandolin, shave them as thin as you can. Transfer sprouts to a mixing bowl and add the duck fat, cider vinegar, diced onion and mix to combine. Season the sprouts with salt and pepper to taste; you may want more fat or acid as well.
Carve Ballotine into one inch thick slices, plate up with Brussels sprouts and garnish with crisped celery; Serve and enjoy.
Tip: The Brussels sprouts are best served at room temperature or slightly warmed.
Click the video t0 watch the video