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Mar 6, 2007 09:25 PM

Duck and chestnut recipe or ideas?

I have heard that duck and chestnuts are quite the match for each other, taste-wise, but I can't think how to combine them. I don't have much experience with either duck or chestnuts beyond Chinese cuisine where I haven't yet tried them together.

Does anyone have a duck with chestnuts / chestnut puree / chestnut bread pudding recipe they wouldn't mind parting with? If it comes down to it, I may make a puree de marrons and spoon it on the side of a seared duck breast just to experience this amazing taste complement.

Also, if you find this combination gross or just plain inedible, please let me know! Thank you in advance for sharing your thoughts and suggestions.

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  1. I've never thought of doing this combination. You got me curious, so I Googled and came across this recipe, which looks fairly simple. It calls for a whole duck, disjointed, but it seems to me you could do it with just the breasts ("magret"), which are easy to handle.

    Since you say you've not done much with duck, it's a very good idea -- a must, really -- to score the skin of the duck breasts, without cutting into the meat, before you saute them so that you render out the excess fat. Note: There will be a lot of fat!

    If you do try this recipe, I hope you'll report back about how it turned out. Bon Appetit!

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      Thank you for the recipe, RGR, and the tip to score the skin beforehand. I'd hate to think how it might've turned out with that helpful advice for a beginner like me!

    2. This is so weird - up top (not the recipe in the replies) you're describing the dinner I made two days ago - pan-seared duck breast with chestnut purée on the side. I also made a green-peppercorn, cognac, crème fraîche sauce on the side for my boyfriend, who thinks meat always needs a sauce. I ate the duck breast without the sauce (just thyme and whole garlic cloves tossed into the pan during the searing), and it was heavenly with the chestnut purée and a bottle of 1999 Volnay. Mmm...

      1 Reply
      1. re: sjb7501

        Thanks for letting me know, sjb7501! Your dinner sounds wonderful. Would you mind giving me a recipe for how you cooked the duck and the chestnut purée, or even some general instructions?

      2. Score the skin of the duck breast in a cross-hatch fashion. Heat as small a pan as the duck breast fits into to medium, then put the duck breast in skin-side down. After two minutes, when the fat starts to pool around it, throw in 2 peeled garlic cloves and 2 sprigs of thyme. Continue cooking, basting the meat with the fat around the duck from time to time, for eight to ten minutes. Flip over and cook two to four minutes on the meat side, depending on how well done you like the meat. Afterward, let stand a few minutes, then slice thin. Add salt and grind pepper over.

        For the green peppercorn sauce, I just sautéed a shallot in a little duck fat, threw in a couple of tablespoons of green peppercorns I'd crushed slightly, then deglazed with cognac, boiled down a couple of minutes, added some crème fraîche.

        Chestnut purée, cook chestnuts in oven and peel, crush and add a chunk of butter and some crème fraîche in a pan, salt, pepper, nutmeg.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sjb7501

          I would add this to your instructions about cooking the duck. The rendering process produces a boatload of fat, so you can baste with some, but most of it really needs to be poured off as you go along, leaving just enough at the end in which to saute the garlic. This avoids having the breast swimming in way too much fat. I also find that it's best to finish cooking the duck in the oven.

          D'Artagnan's website has a basic magret recipe:

          1. re: RGR

            I'd add (and this might be obvious, but in just in case, since the OP hasn't done much with duck) that, whenever you pour the fat off, be sure to save it! If you've already put garlic/herbs in it, pour it through a strainer into a glass jar, but don't discard it, it's quite precious. It'll keep a long time in the fridge, and almost indefintely in the freezer, and is wonderful for frying potatoes and cooking vegetables and even eggs.

        2. Hm... I don't know. I just toss out the garlic cloves at the end. This is Joël Robuchon's recommendation (leaving in fat & basting with). But then again, he loves fat...

          1 Reply
          1. re: sjb7501

            Now that I think of it, I believe there is such a thing as poaching in fat. Maybe that's the method?

          2. There's making a confit, but I wouldn't say I go that far with the duck breast! I just used to pour out the fat (like when crisping up pre-prepared confit de canard), but I found the duck breast got too burnt or something; I forget why, but I changed to Monsieur Robuchon's style; hasn't done me wrong!