Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Duck Confit Agnolotti with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Duck Confit Agnolotti with Wild Mushroom Sauce




You know all those quick and easy recipes that make up a significant portion of the internet? This isn't one of them. I'm very proud of this dish because it's one of my most ambitious plates of food I've constructed to date. If you replicate it, plan on starting it Friday evening to be served for Sunday dinner.

Last month, I tried something new when I seared duck breasts. You might remember that I bought a whole bird for the dish so I had parts leftover and I decided to prepare the leg quarters in a confit. Confit is a French technique that was used to preserve food before refrigeration was invented and it involves salt curing meats before poaching it in fat over low heat. It has since become somewhat of a novelty for it's flavor.

Since I have already made several ravioli dishes, I wanted to attempt another filled pasta shape I previously had yet to attempt and thought the agnolotto would be challenging. I would call the agnolotti a cousin to the ravioli because the difference between the two is that the pasta in a raviolo is cut to form its shape on all sides but the agnolotto pasta is folded over so that only three sides are cut.

The Challenge

Successfully execute cooking techniques not previously attempted.

The Source

I took the confit recipe from page 183 of Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio with Catherine Young, Lori Silverbush and Sean Fri and used it in the pasta filling recipe on page 160 of the recipe guide from the Top Chef University DVD set. Furthermore, I applied my pasta dough ingredients from pages 102 to 104 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer to the agnolotti procedure I found on thekitchn.com and paired it with Chef Wolfgang Puck's mushroom sauce on foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

FOR THE DUCK CONFIT:
3 tablespoons kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thin
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 duck leg quarters
Black pepper, coarsely ground
Duck fat, as needed (I was able to get away with one 12-ounce container, but more may be needed)

FOR THE PASTA FILLING:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped fine
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Meat from duck confit recipe
1/2 cup plus more as needed chicken stock, divided
1 tablespoon Italian parsley

FOR THE PASTA DOUGH:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 plus 4 large eggs, divided
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
Kosher salt

FOR THE SAUCE:
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup mushroom trimmings
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme
8 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (I used a box containing trumpets, White Beech, and Brown Hon-shemeji), trimmed and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Watercress leaves, for garnish.

Method

1. Cure the duck. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt in an even layer to the bottom of a dish. Scatter half of the garlic, shallot and thyme over the salt, then place the duck leg quarters on top of the herbs. Add the remaining salt, garlic, shallot and thyme over the leg quarters then season with freshly ground black pepper. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Duck leg quarters before curing overnight

2. Finish the confit. Preheat the oven to 225° Fahrenheit. While you're waiting for the oven, melt the duck fat over medium low heat in a saucepan. Remove the duck leg quarters from the cure and discard the cure. Brush off any salt and herbs stuck to the duck legs, then add them to high-sided baking dish in a single layer. Pour enough duck fat over the leg quarters to completely submerge them in the fat, then place the baking dish in the oven to slowly simmer the leg quarters until the meat is tender and can be separated easily from the bone, approximately 2 to 3 hours. Remove the confit from the oven and set aside to cool. The confit can be stored in the refrigerator in it's own fat covered in plastic wrap for up to one month.

Duck leg quarters just about to go into the oven

Duck leg quarters finished in the oven

3. Prepare the agnolotti filling. If the duck fat has solidified, I recommend putting the baking dish with the confit back into the oven at 200° Fahrenheit or cooler (if your oven has a warm setting) until liquefied. Remove the skin from the leg quarters, then pull the meat off the bone using a fork. Shred the meat similar to pulled pork. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the shallots, garlic and mushrooms then sweat, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add in the shredded duck confit, then deglaze with 1/2 cup chicken stock. Simmer and reduce until the mixture is wet but not runny. Add in the parsley and set aside to cool. Once cool, add the contents of the skillet to a blender and purée, adding chicken stock, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the filling has the consistency similar toothpaste. Remove the pasta filling to a disposable pastry bag or a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and place in the refrigerator until the pasta dough has been prepared.

Shredded duck confit

Pasta filling before the purée

4. Prepare the pasta dough. In a medium bowl, combine 4 eggs, 1 egg yolk, olive oil and water, then set aside. On a clean flat surface, place the flour in the shape of a mound, then dig a hole large enough to hold the egg mixture in the middle of the flour so that it looks like a volcano. Season the hole (called a well) with salt. Empty the eggs into the well, then stir with a fork in a circular motion, slowly incorporating flour into the wet ingredients but being mindful not to allow any of the egg mixture to spill over the sides of the flour. Once the eggs contain enough flour so they are no longer in danger of spilling over the well, add in the rest of the flour with your hands. Once the dough has become homogeneous, knead the dough by rolling it over onto itself with the heels of the palms of your hands, then turning it 90 degrees and repeating the process until it becomes tacky but not sticky, adding more flour or water, as needed. Once the dough has reached the proper texture, wrap it in plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Finished pasta dough

5. Roll the dough. Open the setting of a pasta roller to its widest. Cut off a portion of the pasta dough and flatten it, ensuring to re-wrap the remaining pasta dough that isn't being rolled. Dust a clean working surface with flour and pass the portion of the dough through the pasta roller, then fold it into thirds and pass the dough through the roller a second time at its widest setting, dusting the dough with flour if it feels too sticky, as needed. Fold it into thirds again, passing the dough through the pasta roller a third time at the widest setting and again, dusting the dough flour if necessary. Adjust the pasta roller to the next thinnest setting (i.e. if the roller is widest at setting 1, switch it to setting 2), and pass through the pasta roller just once at that setting. Continue to pass the dough through the roller once at the next thinnest setting, dusting the dough with flour as required, until your pasta sheets have reached the desired thinness. (My Atlas machine has six settings, but I rolled my dough to setting 5.) The pasta sheets will most likely become too long so cut them crosswise so they are more easily managed. Once the dough has been rolled, dust liberally with flour on both sides, cover with a clean towel and set aside. Repeat this procedure with another portion of dough until all portions have been rolled.

Pasta rolled about halfway through the settings

6. Construct the agnolotti. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. Dust a clean working surface with flour and lay a pasta sheet on top, re-covering the unused pasta sheets. Cut a small home in one corner of the piping bag and pipe a line of filling lengthwise down the middle of the pasta sheet, then apply the beaten egg to one side of the pasta sheet on either side of the filling.

Pasta filling piped onto pasta sheet with one side brushed with the beaten egg

Fold the pasta sheet over lengthwise on top of the filling and use the egg wash to seal. Make indentations into the pasta sheet on top of the filling by pinching the pasta with a finger to form individual agnolotti pouches, pushing out any air in between.


Cut the agnolotti, first lengthwise along the pasta sheet to remove the excess pasta, then on the indentations to create each agnolotto.


Repeat this process with the remaining pasta sheets and filling until the pasta and filling have been used. Place the agnolotti on a flour-dusted sheet pan in a single layer to freeze if not using immediately. Once the pasta has frozen, transfer the agnolotti to a resealable bag for easier storage.

7. Prepare the sauce and finish the dish. Start the sauce by preparing a mushroom stock. Combine the mushroom trimmings with the chicken stock in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the mixture to 1 cup, then strain out the mushrooms and reserve the mushroom stock.


While the stock is reducing, fire a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil starts to smoke, add the shallots, garlic and thyme and sweat, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes. Deglaze with the reserved mushroom stock and reduce for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer until the sauce has thickened, then season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.


Put the agnolotti into the water and boil, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the agnolotti from the boiling water once they float to the top and toss with the sauce. To plate, spoon some sauce into warmed bowls, top with agnolotti and garnish with watercress leaves.

Successful?

Before I proceed with the execution of the dish, I need to review some items. First, I should specify that I used my copy of The Flavor Bible to pair ingredients which suggested pairing wild mushrooms, shallots and watercress with duck confit.

I have been considering a separate pasta dough post but have not been able to complete it because my hands get rather messy as I'm kneading the dough and then again when I'm rolling the pasta. In fact, Mrs. Stuntman took the picture above of a pasta sheet in the process of being passed through the roller. If you need further explanation on how to prepare pasta dough, I invite you to view Chef Tom Johnson's instructional YouTube video which is the best demonstration I've found. Chef Johnson's personality is a little dry but his advice is solid. Mrs. Stuntman also took the final picture of the plated dish above.

I recommend sparingly seasoning the pasta filling in step 3 and the sauce in step 7 because, as I was shredding the confit, I tasted a scrap and noticed the meat being on the edge of too salty.

The dish itself was a little rich so I might pair this pasta with a different sauce, however Mrs. Stuntman enjoyed it and requested I prepare it again.

Don't forget! You have a until Saturday to enter my giveaway of Krayl Funch's book, An Appealing Plan: A Year Of Everyday Celebrations. Please click here for more information.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Beef Sliders with Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, Bleu Cheese and Bacon for a Red Carpet Party #SundaySupper

Beef Sliders with Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, Bleu Cheese and Bacon for a Red Carpet Party #SundaySupper




Before I start, I have a little housekeeping matter to discuss. This past Thursday, my facebook world went through, ahem...let's call it an adjustment. For whatever reason, the website seized my personal profile as Foodie Stuntman and forced me to convert it to a facebook page, so everyone on my friends list are now 'Likes' to Foodie Stuntman, the page. As soon as I can replicate the content that was in the old personal profile, I plan on deleting the page and I won't be updating it any further. In addition, I've opened a new facebook personal profile under DB Stuntman and I ask you send me a friend request there, if you wish and haven't done so already. My Crazy Foodie Stunts facebook page, twitter, pinterest and G+ are unaffected.

Moving onto the dish: I remember watching America's Best Cook on Food Network last spring where one of the challenges was to prepare a burger. It occurred to me that I hadn't addressed the concept here so I prepared one this past August but it had influences and flavors from other cuisines and I wanted to address the dish from a classic American standpoint. The opportunity arose with this week's #SundaySupper theme of Red Carpet Party hosted by Katie of Ruffles and Truffles.

You might be asking yourself right now, How does a burger relate to the Oscars? so let me make the connection. The only nominee in this year's Best Picture category that I've seen is American Sniper. In it, Bradley Cooper plays the title role of Chris Kyle who was born and raised in Texas. I then started to think of food The Lone Star State does well and thought of steakhouses, so I started looking at steakhouse menus, where burgers are common as a happy hour item or appetizer.

So let's discuss this classic American staple. For me, the toppings are secondary to the burger patty. I used bleu cheese, mushrooms, onions and bacon in this instance, but if you want to replicate this dish, feel free to adjust them to your tastes. My father taught me to use 80/20 ground beef because anything leaner will result in a dry burger because there is little fat to render during the process of cooking it, which makes the burger juicy. I further fortify my burger with freshly shredded parmesan cheese, which is my secret ingredient. In addition, parmesan is naturally salty so it also seasons the patty.

The Challenge

Demonstrate my burger recipe and to compare it with others.

The Source

This dish is a Crazy Foodie Stunts original

Ingredients

1 1/2-pound 80/20 ground beef
1/3-1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces (i.e. slices) bacon, cut into batons
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, cut in half, root to stem and then sliced crosswise, thin
1 8-ounced package, pre-sliced cremini or baby bella mushrooms
2 ounces crumbled bleu cheese
Slider buns

Method

1. Prepare the burger patties: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, parmesan cheese and garlic, then season the mixture with salt and pepper. Form the mixture into patties slightly wider than the slider buns, about 1 dozen.

2. Prepare the toppings: Place the batons in a dry sauté pan over medium heat and cook until crisp and the fat has rendered, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and drain the bacon fat from the pan then replace it with the olive oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the onions and mushrooms and cook until the onions have browned and the mushrooms have reduced, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove to a bowl and set aside to keep warm.



3. Prepare the burgers: Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Sear the patties until cooked through to desired doneness, approximately 3 minutes per side for medium rare. To plate, place a burger patty on a slider bun and top with onions, mushrooms, bacon and bleu cheese. Serve immediately.


Successful?

From the standpoint of the dish itself, Mrs. Stuntman asked if there were any leftover sliders to take for a brown bag lunch the next day after polishing off a couple of them for dinner. Whether or not the challenge was successful is still undetermined because I would need to put my burger patties up against any other home cook's patties. Recipe contest anyone? Let me know if you're up for it.

Meanwhile, I invite you to enjoy the red carpet in addition to the awards show and encourage you to do so with one or more of these other foods featured this week:


Nominees for Best Supporting Appetizers:
Nominees for Best Course in a Leading Role:
Nominees for Best Supporting Sips:
Nominees for Best Delectable Desserts:
Nominees for Best Dressed Table:
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Red Wine Reduction and Roasted Winter Vegetables

Pan-Seared Duck Breast with Red Wine Reduction and Roasted Winter Vegetables




I'm going to level with you.

My last couple of months, for the most part, hasn't been my finest work here. My desire to prepare food has been present but writing about said dishes has become a grind for me. It's interesting because I have noticed my food inspiration has evolved over time. When I started this website, my focus was food preparation that is unusual or difficult for a home cook with no professional training, however I'm finding that my most inspired work has been when I can compose a dish. I may still rely upon techniques drawn from other sources but putting these elements together in a harmonious fashion with some assistance from The Flavor Bible is what I've enjoyed the most. Some examples might include my ravioli dish from January 2013, my scallops dish from February 2014 and my salmon guest post for my friend, Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic in March of 2014. I had even considered retiring this website and starting a new one where the title would be the name of a fictitious restaurant and posts would be menu items, taking inspiration from ingredients that come in and out of season in addition to current food trends.

There's no reason I can't do that here. This particular dish pairs an ingredient I had not previously prepared with a dish composition challenge (i.e. pairing foods together). The fact of the matter is I had been planning this dish for some time now. Last summer, I remember my friend, Lori from Foxes Loves Lemons was frustrated by the filling of a cherry pie she replicated from a magazine cover so I suggested she repurpose it and pair it with a duck breast because I remember noting it in The Flavor Bible. A couple of months later, I was in the local Whole Foods Market and remembered my suggestion, so I thought I'd price out duck breast while I was there. As with many items there, the price was too steep for me but the meat manager there suggested a whole frozen duck instead which was about half as much. He even offered to defrost it and butcher the bird if I called a day ahead. Last week, I finally took him up on his offer.

The Challenge

Successfully execute an ingredient I had not previously prepared

The Source

To prepare the duck, I adapted a dish from pages 152 to 153 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer and paired it with an adaptation of Martha Stewart's port wine reduction. To complement the dish, I adapted Ina Garten's roasted vegetables found on foodnetwork.com.

Ingredients

1 parsnip, trimmed of both ends, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice
1 turnip, trimmed of both ends, peeled and cut into a 1-inch dice
6 ounces fingerling potatoes, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped, plus 2 whole sprigs, divided
3 tablespoons rendered duck fat
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pekin duck breasts
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Arugula leaves (for garnish)

Method

1. Roast the vegetables. Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss the parsnip, turnip and potatoes with the duck fat and chopped thyme and season with salt and pepper. Empty the vegetables in a single layer onto a aluminum foil-lined sheet pan and place in the oven until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 45 minutes.

2. Prepare the duck. While your vegetables roast, score the duck by cutting through the skin in an cross-hatch pattern about 3/4-inch wide deep enough to pierce through the layer of fat but not through the meat, then season both sides with salt and pepper. Coat a large pan with a thin stream of olive oil and add the duck breasts with the skin side down. Heat the pan to low in order to render the duck fat slowly until you can see the meat through the score marks, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. As the duck fat renders, scoop it out of the pan and save it for other uses. Once all the fat has rendered, raise the heat to medium and brown both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove the breasts to a plate to allow for carryover cooking, approximately 5 minutes, then slice the breasts on a bias.


3. Prepare the reduction. Remove any duck fat from the pan in excess of 1 tablespoon and add the shallots to the pan to sweat, approximately 2 minutes. Deglaze with the wine and stock, scraping any fond stuck from the bottom of the pan, then raise the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce to 1/3 cup. Stir in the butter and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. To plate, spoon some sauce on a warmed plate, then fan 3 to 4 slices of duck over the sauce. Spoon some vegetables to the side and garnish with arugula.

Successful?

The idea from this dish came from a flavor affinity of duck, parsnips and turnips in The Flavor Bible, which also notes arugula. I highly recommend getting a copy if you don't have one. In fact, Christina of Mama's High Strung is giving a copy away on her website right now in a Valentine's Cookbook Affair Giveaway.

Other giveaways include:

A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen giving away Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart
Confessions of a Culinary Diva giving away My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz and Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Great Food 360° giving away The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History by Ana Sofia Pelaez
Liv Life giving away Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
girlichef giving away Cooking with Frank's® RedHot® Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat by Rachel Rappaport
Crazy Foodie Stunts giving away An Appealing Plan: A Year Of Everyday Celebrations by Krayl Funch
BakeawayWithMe giving away Amy's Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree
annaDishes giving away Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
Lifestyle Food Artistry giving away What's Cooking - Que Se Cocina En Puerto Rico: An English-Spanish Cookbook edited by Barbara Ezratty
Wallflour Girl giving away Top With Cinnamon: Stylish Sweet and Savoury Recipes by Izy Hossack
Food Lust People Love giving away An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler
Kelli's Kitchen giving away The Complete Southern Cookbook: More than 800 of the Most Delicious, Down-Home Recipes by Tammy Algood
That Skinny Chick Can Bake giving away The Silver Palate Cookbook and The New Basics Cookbook, both by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso

Regarding the dish itself, Chef Burrell instructs her readers to finish the duck in the oven at 350° Fahrenheit for 5 to 6 minutes but I found the duck to be cooked past medium rare which is ideal. It was still a well balanced dish. I might even put the dish on that fictitious restaurant I referred to above. In addition, I do have plans for the other duck parts, however I'll save them for future posts.