Pan Seared Duck Breast with Fennel-Apple Farro Cognac Reduction and Chestnut Brussels Sprout Salad
½ pound farro, pearled spelt (found at health food stores) or brown basmati rice
¼ cup fennel bulb, diced
1 cup apple, diced
½ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups good chicken stock
¼ cup Marscarpone
¼ cup white wine
In a large saute pan over medium heat, saute the onion, fennel and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add the farro and toast lightly with the onions. Deglaze with white wine, add one cup of chicken stock and stir frequently. When the liquid is almost gone, add one more cup of stock and continue stirring. Keep adding stock until the farro is cooked, about 30 minutes, or until it is soft but has a little bite. To finish the farro, stir in the apples, mascarpone, lemon juice and season to taste.
1 tablespoon sliced shallots
½ cup cognac
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan saute the shallots until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with Cognac, then stir in the brown sugar. Reduce this mixture by half, add the stock and reduce by half again. Finish the sauce with salt and pepper and a small pat of butter. Strain and keep warm.
½ pound Brussels sprouts
¼ cup toasted chestnuts, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
Pick the leaves off the brussels sprouts and cook them in boiling salted water for 30 seconds; stop the cooking by shocking them in ice water.
Heat the chestnuts and butter in a small pan. Let the butter begin to brown but do not burn. At this point add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the brussels sprouts leaves to warm.
4 Peking duck breasts
salt and pepper
Heat a saute pan over high heat. Season duck breasts with salt and pepper and lay skin side down in the hot pan. Reduce the heat and let the fat render out of the breast for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breast and cook another minute for medium rare. Remove from the pan and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice the breast against the grain.
Place the farro in the middle of the plate with the sauce spooned in front. Fan out the sliced duck breast and top the farro with the warm salad.