Duck Confit and Duck Liver Pâté Stuffed Mushrooms
with Green Peppercorn Marsala GlacéMaking a Duck Confit and smooth Duck Liver Pâté stuffed braised portobello field mushroom seemed like a good idea for using up some duck odds and ends in the refrigerator. These fancy stuffed mushrooms can be served as an entrée of three or appetizer of one.
Reducing Marsala wine with green peppercorns creates a mild pepper sweet wine glacé that tastes good with duck. Most chefs favor Port Wine reductions, but a fine imported Italian Aged Marsala is every bit as good, if not better.
Confit rendering is a very old cooking method that originated as a means for preserving duck meat. The leg meat of a duck or the entire leg is cured with salt for a day or two, then it is slowly rendered in duck fat. Confit can be slowly rendered in a pot on a stove top or it can be baked at a low temperature in an oven. The result is duck leg meat is savory, tender and delicious.
I used a low temperature stove top rendering technique to make the confit for today's recipe. I learned this method from a great chef many years ago. The duck skin will not be crisp when using this rendering method and the skin is discarded. Stove to rendered duck meat usually accompanies pâté.
Today's Duck Liver Pâté is a simple smooth, soft, spreadable pâté. This kind of pâté is easy to make.
Rendered Duck Fat:
About 1 1/2 cups of rendered duck fat is needed for this recipe. If no duck fat trimmings are available, then pre-made rendered duck fat can be purchased at a good butcher shop or gourmet food market.
When butchering whole ducks into parts, save all the skin and fat trimmings.
Place the skin and fat in a sauce pot.
Simmer and render the fat over very low heat.
Render till the fat solids turn into a clear oil.
Pour the duck fat through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
Refrigerate the duck fat till it is needed.
Stove Top Render Duck Confit:
This recipe yields 2 duck legs.
This is a very old traditional way to render duck! The first confit was made in an earthen pot over embers and not in an oven. The original goal of making confit was to preserve the salted meat in a thick layer of fat.
Step 1: Rub 1/4 cup of coarse Kosher salt on 2 duck leg sections.
Place the the salted legs in a container.
Refrigerate the salted duck legs for 24 to 48 hours. (24 hours is good if the confit is for immediate use. 48 hours results in fully cured duck meat that can be kept chilled for a few months.)
Step 2: Rinse the excess salt off of the duck legs.
Place the duck legs side by side in the smallest sauce pot possible.
Cover the duck legs with the duck fat. (Add lard, bacon grease or oil, if there is not enough duck fat to completely cover the duck legs.)
Add a 4 bay leaves.
Cover the pot with a lid.
Step 3: Place the pot over very low heat.
Slowly render the duck legs undisturbed for 1 1/2 hours.
*At this point, start checking to see if the duck meat is tender, once every 20 minutes. Check by gently pressing the meat with a spoon, to see if the meat starts to split under gentle pressure. When the duck leg meat becomes very tender, then it is ready.
Step 4: Carefully remove the duck legs from the pot and place them in a ceramic bowl.
Discard the bay leaves.
Pour the rendered duck fat over the duck legs.
The legs should be completely covered with the rendered duck fat.
Refrigerate the duck in the rendered fat for 24 hours.
*You can keep duck confit refrigerated for a few months and the meat will not spoil. The fat can be used like butter to flavor vegetables.
Smooth Duck Liver Pâté:
This recipe yields enough for 3 stuffed mushrooms. (About 1/3 cup.)
This is a simple pâté spread!
Step 1: Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
Sauté till the shallot turns clear in color.
Step 2: Add 1/3 cup duck livers.
Sauté till the duck livers are halfway cooked.
Step 3: Add 2 1/2 ounces of cognac.
Simmer till the cognac reduces to less than 1/2 tablespoon. The livers should be fully cooked, yet soft and pink inside.
Step 4: Remove the pan from the heat.
Place the ingredients in a container and let the ingredients cool to room temperature.
Chill the livers and reduced cognac in a refrigerator to 41ºF.
Step 5: Place duck livers and reduced cognac in food processor.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
Add 1 pinch of mace.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted plugra butter.
Add 2 tablespoons of cream cheese.
Pulse the food processor, till the mixture becomes a smooth spreadable pâté.
Step 6: Place the smooth duck liver pâté in a small container.
Refrigerate the smooth duck liver pâté for at least 2 hours.
Poivre Verte Marsala Glacé:
This recipe yields about 1/4 cup.
Place 3/4 cup of Italian Marsala Wine in a small sauce pot.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of canned green peppercorns that were packed in brine.
Place the pot over medium low heat.
Simmer and reduce, till the sauce can glaze the back of a spoon.
Place the sauce in a small ramekin and keep it warm on a stove top.
Canard Confit et Pâté du Foie Canard en Farci Champignon avec Poivre Verte Marsala Glacé:
This recipe yields 1 entrée portion of 3 stuffed mushrooms.
Step 1: Brush 3 thin slices of French baguette bread with unsalted butter.
Grill the bread slices in a saute pan over medium/medium low heat, till they become lightly toasted. Keep the croutons warm on a stove top.
Step 2: Remove the paté from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up to room temperature.
Step 3: Place 1 rendered duck leg confit on a cutting board.
Remove and discard the duck skin, cartilage and bones.
Separate the leg meat sections into bite size pieces. Take care not to shred the tender leg meat.
Step 4: Place a small sauté pan over very low heat.
Add 2 tablespoons of the confit duck fat.
Add rendered duck leg meat.
Gently warm the duck leg meat up to about 125ºF, to the meat is aromatic.
Keep the duck confit meat warm on a stove top.
Step 5: Remove the stems from 3 medium size portabella mushrooms.
Carefully scrape the gills off of the mushrooms with a spoon. (Peel the mushrooms if you wish.)
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rendered duck fat.
Sauté till the mushroom caps are fully cooked and tender.
Place the 3 croutons in a row on a plate.
Place 1 sautéed mushroom cap on each crouton.
Place about 2 1/2 tablespoon of the Smooth Duck Liver Pâté on each mushroom.
Gently press the paté into the mushroom, so it fills the entire mushroom cap with an even layer.
Place a few pieces of the Rendered Duck Confit Meat on top of the duck liver pâté.
Spoon a small amount of the Green Peppercorn Marsala Glacé over each stuffed mushroom.
This is a rich tasting elegant way to serve Rendered Duck Confit!