Merry Edwards Winery - Russian River Valley

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Pan Seared Duck Breast with Fennel-Apple Farro Cognac Reduction and Chestnut Brussels Sprout Salad

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Fennel-Apple Farro

Ingredients:

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
lemon juice
 

Preparation:

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.

Cognac Reduction

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sliced shallots
½ cup cognac
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1½ cup chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

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.

Salad

Ingredients:

½ pound Brussels sprouts
¼ cup toasted chestnuts, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons butter
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Preparation:

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.

Duck

Ingredients:

4 Peking duck breasts
salt and pepper
olive oil

Preparation:

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.

About this Recipe

Before opening critically acclaimed Bistro 29 in Santa Rosa in 2008, Chef Brian Anderson created and oversaw execution of the remarkable dinners at Applewood Inn & Restaurant that garnered rave reviews both locally and nationally. His first inspiration came from his grandmother, who was a professional chef in California’s Gold Country.

Brian’s second inspiration came when he discovered France with its long culinary history and passion for fine living and fine food. Cycling trips through the French countryside soon led to an extended stay and eventual marriage to Mademoiselle Francoise Abiven, a lovely young woman from Brittany. With the young woman came a mother-in-law who took over where Brian’s grandmother had left off, imparting centuries-old traditions of using only the freshest of local produce in the preparation of simple but exquisite dishes.

Returning to California with his young bride, Brian enrolled in the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary program. Brian’s talents and enthusiasm gained him access to the kitchens of such noted local restaurants as Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg and Café Lolo in Santa Rosa (the space where Bistro 29 is located) where he cooked for seven years before moving on to Feast Bistro and then Applewood in 2004. Brian was promoted to Executive Chef at Applewood in January 2005.