Smoked Blueberry Herb Duck, Crispy Leek Grit Cake and Watercress Puree
As the saying goes, smoke’em if ya got’em. Well, we had’em: incredible duck breast, some organic blueberry wine, and Herbs. Duck is a delicious poultry alternative to chicken. It is a nutrient-dense dark meat (thus supplying copious amounts of iron along with the liquid gold that is duck fat). And speaking of duck fat, it is rich in polyunsaturated fats and is perhaps the perfect cooking medium for potatoes. This cooking method involve preparing the duck so that the majority of the fat is rendered off, leaving deliciously smokey, juicy, lean meat. That meat is a great source selenium, iron, and niacin.
2 duck breasts, skin on and scored
Blueberry Herb Marinade (recipe follows)
Crispy Leek and Bacon Grit Cakes (recipe follows)
Watercress Purée (recipe follows)
Place the scored duck breast in the marinade and allow to rest at least four hours, preferably overnight. Remove and dry the breasts. The exact smoking time will vary, but the breasts will take approximately 2 hours at about 200 degrees. Check the internal temperature prior to removing for the doneness level desired; remove about 5-10 degrees below desired temperature to allow for carryover. The duck breasts should rest for an hour or so covered in foil once removed. Any residual skin was removed prior to serving. Slice the breast meat on the bias and place over the grit cake. Dab watercress purée on the side. Serves 4.
Blueberry Herb Duck Breast Marinade
2 cups brine (10 g salt dissolved in 200 g water)
1 cup blueberry wine (you may also use your favorite red or rose wine or other wine here)
¼ Hendricks gin (a very herbal gin)
2 Tbs. juniper berries
Juice of 1 lemon
1 bay leaf
1 bunch fresh oregano
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 Tbs. dried savory
1 Tbs. crushed lavender flowers (optional)
Crispy Leek Grit Cake
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white parts only)
1 tbs. olive oil
4 cups water
1 cup stone ground grits
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup butter, melted
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
In a medium sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and cook the leeks until they start to turn crispy about 6-8 minutes; set aside. Bring 4 cups of water with a pinch of salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the grits and reduce to a simmer, Stir frequently until creamy, about twenty minutes. You may add more water during cooking, if needed. Remove and allow to cool. Add the grits to the eggs, butter, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly and place in a casserole dish. Bake at 375F for thirty minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Prior to serving, remove a slice and crisp in a sauté pan with a little melted butter over medium heat. Serves 8.
Watercress, 4 oz. bag
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat some water in a medium pot to boiling. Add the watercress and cook for about thirty seconds, just enough to blanch. Place the watercress in an ice bath to arrest the cooking process. Put the watercress in a food processer and purée by slowly adding the olive oil until the desired consistency is achieved. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.