Maura McEvoy
Duck Breast & Confit with Quinces, adapted from The Gramercy Park Tavern Cookbook by Michael Anthony with a history by Danny Meyer.
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Duck Breast & Confit with Quinces

The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, Michael Anthony - December 25th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from The Gramercy Park Tavern Cookbook by Michael Anthony with a history by Danny Meyer―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

"Duck is hardly a new ingredient in the kitchen, but it is so versatile and flavorful, it is recapturing the attention of cooks everywhere. Duck is the new pork! You can make so many things from one bird, from crispy cracklings and succulent confit to sausage and even duck prosciutto. Here I combine two ways of cooking duck and pair it with sweet, aromatic quinces in a memorable dish. The quinces are also cooked two ways: poached and pureed. Since we buy whole birds for the restaurant, we include both breasts and legs in this recipe, though you can certainly make the dish with one or the other. Because the duck confit takes some time, it's also fine to buy it."

Serves 4

Poached quince:
Makes 1 cup

"Poached quince can make a mouthwatering condiment that works with such varied dishes as red Kuri squash soup, chicken liver mousse, and squash and endive salad. In winter, we stack crates of whole quinces just inside the front door at Gramercy, where their lovely fragrance becomes yet another welcome to the restaurant."

  • 1 cup quince, peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine quince, sugar, and water to cover in small saucepan; bring to a simmer; cook until quinces are just tender (about 30 minutes); reserve (keep warm).

Note: If not using quince immediately, cool in liquid; cover; refrigerate up to several weeks; drain before using.

Brown duck sauce:
Makes 2 1/2 cups

"This brown sauce is useful in many dishes—to season the duck breast, and spinach fettuccine. I like to use a few drops in grain or bean dishes to add flavor and character."

  • 1 duck carcass, cut up
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup Sherry vinegar
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 strip orange zest
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  1. Heat oven to 425˚F.

  2. Place duck bones in roasting pan; roast 35 to 45 minutes, until well browned; pour off excess fat; set pan over medium heat; deglaze with wine and vinegar; reduce until syrupy; add 1 cup of broth; reserve.

  3. Heat oil over medium heat in large pot; add shallots, mushrooms, and garlic; cook until shallots soften and mushrooms are golden brown (about 5 minutes); stir in tomato paste; add roasted bones, pan juices, remaining broth, zest, and thyme; bring to a simmer, skimming occasionally; cook until liquid reduces to about 2 1/2 cups (about 2 hours); pass through fine-mesh strainer into container; season; cool to room temperature; cover; reserve in refrigerator.

Quince puree:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups quince, peeled, cored, and cubed
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup sweet Riesling
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Heat oil over medium-low heat in medium saucepan; add leek; cook until softened (about 6 minutes); add quince, broth, wine, and sugar; bring to a simmer; cook until quince is completely tender (about 50 minutes); transfer solids to a blender; process, adding just enough liquid to create creamy puree; pass quince puree through fine-mesh strainer into small saucepan; season; reserve (keep warm).

Duck breasts:

  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 4 7 oz. duck breast halves, skin scored

Heat large skillet over medium heat; season duck breasts on both sides; place in skillet, skin-side down; cook until most of the fat is rendered and skin is deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, pouring off excess fat every few minutes; flip breasts over; cook until medium-rare (about 2 minutes); transfer breasts to cutting board; tent with foil; rest 5 minutes.

Duck glaze:

  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground

Bring 1 cup duck sauce to a simmer in small saucepan; reduce by half; season; reserve (keep warm).

Assembly:

  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms (hen of the woods, oyster, shiitake, or cremini), sliced
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 lb. sunchokes, peeled and sliced
  • 8 lg. Brussels sprouts, large leaves separated for use
  • 1 cup duck confit meat from about 2 legs, shredded
  • 1/3 cup sweet firm apple such as honeycrisp, peeled, cored, and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsps. sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
  1. In large skillet, sauté mushrooms in 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat until soft and brown (about 5 minutes); season with salt and pepper; transfer to plate; wipe out pan; cook sunchokes in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat until tender (about 10 minutes); add Brussels sprout leaves; season; toss 1 minute; add mushrooms, duck confit, apple, poached quince, and sunflower seeds; heat through; season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

  2. Slice duck breasts on an angle; spoon quince puree onto plates; layer mushroom mixture and duck confit, followed by sliced duck breast; spoon sauce over duck.

Reprinted from The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook. Copyright © 2013 by Gramercy Tavern Corp. Photographs © 2013 by Maura McEvoy. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, LLC.