Duck Leg Confit with Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Ragout

Late last week I traveled to Portland, OR, on business and was enthralled by the gorgeous autumn colors framed by the windows of the plane as we descended from thousands of feet to the base of Mount Hood, its snow-capped peak shrouded mysteriously in ominous clouds.  The bright reds and yellows carved meandering pathways all the way down to the rivers’ edge.  For a moment I was homesick for autumn and Indian summer back in Minnesota, resplendent and colorful seasons I had enjoyed for so many years as a youngster growing up on the farm in the Midwest.  A warm and lazy golden sun.  Cool crisp air wanting to nip.  Heaven…

The fates allowed me the pleasure of dining that evening with two of our dear friends from Salem, OR, Katrine and Guy Smith, who hosted me for dinner at a wonderful little French restaurant they had discovered in Portland, the Carafe Bistro.   The food was outstanding… and inspirational!  I knew the meal was going to be incredible the moment we walked through the door.  The glorious frangrances that were wafting gently through the air gave affirmation to the fact that the chef in charge of the stove knew his craft well.  I chose as an entree a duck leg confit served with sauteed mushrooms on a puree of glazed carrots… and the dish was nothing short of spectacular.  Katrine and Guy had exceptional entrees as well so, following our meal, we requested that the chef join us to bask in a shower of much deserved praise.  I mentioned to him that Dayton and I were about to publish the 100th post on our blog and that it’s inspiration had been conceived that evening by the magnificent meal I savored ever so slowly.  We still had duck leg confit preserved in duck fat in our fridge from a prior post and, rather than using carrots how about substituting butternut squash for sweetness… besides, there was a medium-sized butternut squash in the pantry at home!  A couple of nights later Dayton and I were feasting on Duck Leg Confit with Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Ragout… delicious!  So, here it is, our 100th post…

Duck Leg Confit with Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Ragout

Remove two legs of duck confit from the fat in which it has been preserved.  Pat dry with paper towels to remove excess fat and set to the side:

Preheat the oven to 375 °.  Split in half lengthwise:

  • 1 medium butternut squash

Remove the seeds with the edge of a spoon and drizzle the cut edges with:

  • extra virgin olive oil

Turn the squash halves cut side down:

Roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes.  The skin will be browned and blistered.  Remove the squash from the oven and increase the oven heat to 400°.  Allow the squash to cool until able to be handled:

While the squash is cooling slice:

  • 12 oz of various fresh mushrooms

Chef’s Note:  We suggest using a variety of mushrooms that might include: chanterelles, baby shiitakes, porcinis (when available) and criminis

Trim and slice thinly the mélange of mushrooms.  Set to the side, as well as:

  • 1/4 C minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves, microplaned

Chop and set to the side:

  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 T minced fresh thyme

  • 4 tsp minced fresh sage

To a large skillet or sauteuse add, over medium heat:

  • 4 T unsalted butter

When the butter has melted add:

  • the reserved onion

As the onions begin to become translucent add:

  • the reserved microplaned garlic
  • the reserved minced thyme and sage

Continue cooking, stirring as necessary, until the onions begin to brown:

Add:

  • 1/2 C heavy cream

Reduce until the sauce becomes thickened:

While the cream is reducing remove the roasted squash from its shell and puree until smooth in a food processor.  Total volume will be approximately 2-1/2 cups.  Add the pureed squash to the onion and reduced cream mixture.  Mix well to combine.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary, with:

  • salt and white pepper

Cover to keep warm, and set to the side.  Place the duck legs on a small sheet pan or oven-proof baking dish and heat in the preheated 400° oven for approximately 10 minutes.  In the meantime melt over medium heat in a large skillet or 12-inch sauteuse:

  • 2 – 3 T unsalted sweet cream butter

 When the butter has melted add:

  • 3 whole peeled garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 2  generous T minced Italian parsley

Add:

  • the reserved sliced mushrooms

Sauté until the mushroom begin to soften.  Add:

  • 1/2 C dry vermouth

Reduce until the vermouth has evaporated:

Turn off the flame and season, if necessary, with:

  • salt and white pepper

Quickly add and toss to combine:

  • 1 large handful of fresh wild arugula

Heat the butternut squash if necessary, adding a touch of cream if required to adjust the consistency.  Pipe the butternut squash onto warmed serving plates, add a generous serving of mushroom ragout with fresh wild arugula and crown the plate with a crispy-skinned, succulent leg of duck confit:

 

Serve with a glass or two of pinot noir to complement this delicious dish, making it a magnificent entree  for any occasion… Bon Appetit!

 

©2011 Via Aurea Designs Inc., All Rights Reserved

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Categories: Duck

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!

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2 Comments on “Duck Leg Confit with Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Ragout”

  1. Margaret Murdock
    October 29, 2011 at 7:33 AM #

    Once again your post is beautiful. The directions are spot on and the photos are works of art. I can’t wait for your cookbook to be published. I am going to buy a case and give one to everyone I know who loves to cook!

    • October 30, 2011 at 2:18 PM #

      Hi Margaret… thanks again for your kind words of support and inspiration! We always get our culinary batteries recharged when we hear from you! Now that we have managed to make it to our 100th published post perhaps we can finally start having some fun in the kitchen…!

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