Sunday, June 29, 2008

Colorado chef's degustation: course four...

The next course in our Colorado chef's degustation menu featured a duet of duck, or "duck squared" as we like to call it. Here, we attempted to pair two preparations of duck into a cohesive dish highlighting the variance in flavor and cooking methodology. We think it was a fairly successful effort.
The first of our duck preparations was a hand-rolled ravioli filled with duck confit and caramelized leeks. Duck confit is a traditional French preparation of duck (hailing from the Gascony region) in which the duck leg is first salt cured, and then poached in it's own fat. The result is a flavorful and very rich piece of meat-- the perfect filling for a ravioli.
The ravioli was paired with our second preparation of duck-- Earl Grey tea smoked duck breast. To prepare this duck, we wok-smoked a seasoned duck breast over loose Early Grey tea leaves. The meat was tender and juicy, and redolent with the spicy high notes of the tea.

Both preparations of meat were served atop a ragout of broad beans, grilled baby artichokes, and earthy fresh morel mushrooms. The dish was finished with a juniper berry pan jus and juniper berry oil, both of which accentuated the sweet tea-scents and richness of the meat.
Striking in both appearance and taste, this course was a favorite of the guests. It would be difficult to pick a favorite preparation of the duck-- the richness of the confit versus the spiciness of the smoked duck! Tomorrow, the palate cleanser... and then on to the "entree" in our Colorado chef's degustation. Be sure to check back.

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