Duck Breast with English Pea Puree and Roasted Sunchokes and Chocolate Orange Entremet
Pan Seared Duck Breast with English Pea Puree and Roasted Sun chokes
Recipe by: Grant Me Food
Makes 4 portions
4 duck breasts, skin on
2 tbsp of cooking oil (grape seed, canola, etc.) - not olive oil
3/4 tsp star anise, ground
1/2 tsp dried ginger, ground
1/2 black pepper, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp dried orange peel, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
3 cups of frozen English (green) peas
~2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp heavy cream (half and half or milk will do fine here too)
1.5 lbs of sun chokes (AKA Jerusalem artichokes)
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp smoked paprika (you can sub in regular paprika if you don’t have the smoked variety)
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
• Set your oven to bake at 350*F and get a large pot of liberally salted water boiling.
• Start by rising the sun chokes in a colander and shake to remove as much excess water as
• Cut up the sun chokes in to irregular shapes that are a little larger than 1/2” in size (about the
size of a marble) and put them in a mixing bowl.
• Mince the garlic cloves, then add them to the sun chokes along with the paprika, onion
powder, and olive oil. Mix thoroughly to coat all of the sun chokes.
• Spread the sun chokes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, then put it
in the oven when its preheated. Roast for 45 minutes.
• Next, we’ll prep the duck beasts. Set the breasts on a cutting board and pat them dry on both sides with a paper towel. Then, using a sharp knife, lightly score the skin in a cross-
hatch pattern. Make sure not to cut all the way down to the meat.
• Combine all of the dry spices together (anise, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, orange peel, and nutmeg). I like to grind everything but the orange peel, then place all of the ingredients in my spice grinder together and pulverize them a little more to blend the mixture well. If you don’t have a dedicated spice grinder, a thoroughly cleaned coffee grinder will do very well.
• Next, season your duck breasts liberally with salt (always use kosher or sea salt, never use iodized salt), then dust them with the spice mixture.
• Set the breasts aside.
• For the pea puree, start by adding the peas to the boiling water we started earlier and cook them for about 2 minutes
• Strain the peas and immediately add them to a blender along with the mint and cream. Blend till the mixture is smooth. It should have a texture slightly thinner than sour cream or yogurt. If you’re having trouble getting the puree to move in the blender, add a little bit more cream or milk at a time and stir before blending again.
• Season the puree to taste then transfer to a heat safe bowl and set in a warm place.
• Now we’re ready to cook our duck. Get a stainless steel, carbon steel, or cast iron pan (non- stick pans won’t work very well for get the crispy texture we’re looking for here) on medium to medium low heat. Once the pan is good and hot, add enough cooking oil or fat to liberally coat the bottom and add the duck breasts to the pan, skin side down (very important). To make sure you have the heat set right, you should listen to the sound the duck makes as it cooks. We want that sound to be similar to that of bacon frying, not too hot and violent sounding, but not too low so as to go quiet.
• Now, this is the tricky part: knowing how long to cook duck breasts. I prefer my duck cooked to medium, as it offers the best balance of texture and moisture. To achieve this, I cook the duck on the skin side for approximately 5-8 minutes, depending on the size (larger breasts take longer to cook), then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. To check for doneness, you can press on the meat with your finger to feel the texture. The texture can be compared to the meaty part of your palm where your thumb is. If you make a fist, then open your pinky and ring finger, pressing that meaty chunk below your thumb is what medium cooked duck breast should feel like. If you want a less subjective means of testing,
you can use an instant read thermometer to see if the meat has reached 138*F.
• Once you’re confident that your duck breasts are cooked to your liking, remove them from the pan and set them aside to rest for 4-5 minutes. It is important to rest meats after cooking them to give the juices inside a chance to lock in. Cutting a steak, pork chop, or duck breast too early will cause those juices to run out on to your cutting board and will leave the meat drier and less enjoyable.
• Once the duck breasts have rested, I like to slice them on a bias (across the grain of the
meat) before plating.
• How you plate this dish is totally up to you, but I find that building everything around a
sizable dollop of pea puree works best to ensure that your guests get a little of everything in one bite as they silently devour their meal (the true sign of a successful dish).
Betsy transferred the duck fat rendering from the duck breasts right into the latke frying pan. Make sure to save your duck fat, it will keep for quite a long time in the fridge!
Betsy used her 9" springform pan and 8" rounds instead of buying new pastry rings. The sizes worked well for recipe as written. She baked her cake layer in the 9" round and made the curd and praline using the 8" round.
Instead of the genoise, Betsy made the buttermilk vanilla snacking cake from Yossy Arefi's book. Next time she might cut it in half to make the layer slightly more proportional, but overall it was well received!
Chocolate mousse can be a little tricky, so to guarantee a good outcome we used the power of science (and cream of tartar) with an assist from Once Upon A Chef's chocolate mousse recipe. We doubled the Once Upon a Chef mousse recipe to achieve the volume needed for the recipe.
Finally, instead of using a chef's blow torch, Betsy used her hair dryer to loosen the pastry ring. It was the perfect concentrated blast of heat needed to loosen the ring without melting the cake!