I have handled a lot of wild game in restaurant kitchens over the years. I usually allow the blood to drain from the meat for a few days before cooking. This keeps wild game from having a tangy gamey flavor that turns novice diners away from wild game. Dry aging wild game meat for a short time also mellows the flavor. I do have a venison tenderloin that I am preparing this way in the refrigerator at this time. Duck becomes a much lighter color when prepared this way and there is still plenty of flavor in the meat.
The modern trend of cooking duck is to serve it rare to medium rare. I personally prefer my duck medium to medium well as you can see in the pictures. The duck meat is still very tender. Remember, this is not show food. I do happen to eat every blog recipe meal that I cook! Keep in mind that you can cook your duck to the temperature of your preference.
The flavors of this recipe are classic. Green peppercorn cognac glace tastes great with duck. Mushrooms go nice with duck too. I thought that the mild "nutty" flavor of white beech mushrooms would be nice with a green peppercorn cognac glace. The accompanying fresh basil tomato polenta adds a little bit of zesty flavor. This is a very tasting plate of food!
Basil Tomato Polenta:
Boil 2 1/2 cups of light chicken broth in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste.
Add a little bit of corn meal at a time, while stirring constantly with a whisk, till the liquid looks like it is just starting to thicken. (About 3/4 cup to 1 cup of corn meal should be enough for 2 1/2 cups of liquid.)
Reduce the temperature to low heat.
Constantly whisk, without stopping, till the polenta becomes smooth, thick and creamy.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of chiffonade sliced fresh basil leaf.
Add 2 pats of unsalted butter while stirring.
The polenta should now have the texture of mashed potatoes.
Remove the sauce pot from the heat.
Spoon the polenta into a star tipped pastry bag and keep it warm on a stove top.
Duck Breast Filet with White Beech Mushrooms, Green Peppercorns and Cognac Glace:
The duck skin is removed in this recipe, because it will never become crisp when using this cooking method.
Remove the skin from a nice size boneless duck breast.
Trim off any excess fat.
Season the duck breast with only sea salt.
Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of rendered duck fat. (If you have no rendered duck fat, then use unsalted butter.)
Add the skinned and trimmed duck breast.
Flip the duck breast often, so it cooks evenly.
When the duck is almost cooked to the temperature of your preference, set the duck breast aside.
Drain the excess grease out of the pan.
Place the pan over medium low heat.
Add 1 pat of unsalted butter.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of finely minced shallot.
Saute the shallot till it starts to turn clear in color.
Add 12 to 14 trimmed small white beech mushroom caps.
Add about 1/2 tablespoon of canned green peppercorns that were packed in brine. (This item can be hard to find. The Amazon internet store is a good source.)
Add 1/2 cup of cognac.
Raise the temperature to medium heat.
Simmer and reduce the cognac by half.
Add 1 cup of duck stock.
Simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
Return the duck breast to the sauce to reheat it, while the sauce finishes reducing.
Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a very thin glace sauce consistency.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Add 1/2 pat of unsalted butter to the sauce while stirring.
Duck Breast Filet with White Beech Mushrooms, Green Peppercorns and Cognac Glace aux Basil Tomato Polenta:
Pipe a small mound of the basil tomato polenta on a plate with the star tipped pastry bag.
Place some buttered steamed zucchini strips, yellow squash strips and red bell pepper strips on the back half of the plate against the polenta.
Remove the duck breast from the sauce and set it on a cutting board to rest for 30 seconds.
Thin slice the duck breast at a forty five degree angle across the grain of the meat.
Overlap the duck breast slices on the plate against the front edge of the polenta.
Spoon the green peppercorns, cognac glace and the beech mushrooms over the edge of the duck breast slices and onto the plate.
Garnish with a couple of very thin sliced green onion top strips.
This is a very tasty way to prepare duck breast! The green peppercorn flavor marries with the cognac. Green peppercorn is much more mellow than black peppercorn. The light "nutty" flavor of the beech mushrooms can be noticed. The polenta has just a hint of garlic, tomato and basil flavor. Yum! ... Shawna