I haven't made a post like this in awhile - where I document a recipe step-by-step - but I've been feeling very inspired lately, since I started buying farm-fresh dairy from Echo Valley Ranch, who hold weekly drop offs in north Toronto. I thought, "what am I going to do with all this milk?!" If I can't drink it I'll cook with it, hence my sage bechamel that follows. Then I remembered I had this duck breast in my freezer, so I naturally made duck confit. Anyways, here's a relatively detailed view of how I made it, some of the recipes are vague, but that's what makes it more fun, enjoy!
Very generic homemade pasta:
300 grams "tipo 00" flour
3 large egg yolks
water to loosen
(reserve egg white to glue ravioli)
This is the only worthy shot for the bechamel sauce. Here's the ingredients:
3/4 L unpasteurized milk
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 stem + leaves of fresh sage
2 tbsp mustard of your choice (I used a homemade one from awhile back)
1 tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
Put the sage, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf in a cheese cloth sachet and let that infuse in the milk on very low heat for about an hour, then remove. Make a paste with the butter and flour, add that in with the mustard and turn the heat on high until it comes to a boil. Once it thickens keep the heat low until ready to use.
The cranberry relish was adapted from my grandmothers mustard pickle recipe titled, "Lady Ross Pickle". In spirit, I am calling this "Lady Camille Pickle".
Lady Camille Pickle
3 cups fresh cranberries
3 granny smith apples, chopped
2 large sweet red peppers, small dice
1 package of white pearl onion, halved
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups cider vinegar
3 cups white sugar
1 cup raw honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
2 tbsp turmeric
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup mustard of your choice
3/4 cup salt
Brine all of the veggies and cranberries overnight in a solution of 1/2 cup salt to 1 quart water, divide it up if you have to. Drain and rinse then add everything into a large pot, except for the turmeric, four and mustard. Make a paste with those three then add it in. Bring everything to a boil, then let simmer for about an hour.
The duck confit needs to be started at least two days before. Cure it overnight by sprinkling the skin side with some salt and sugar, rub it in and keep it in the fridge.
1 duck breast
2 mason jars of duck fat (I think that's about 1 litre)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 bay leaves
Put everything in a pot or casserole dish. Use something small in diameter and tall in height so that the entire breast is covered in fat. I did mine on the stove top but the oven works too. It's easier to maintain the temperature on the stove top (190 F) using a thermometer. Cook it at that temp for the first hour, then cover it and maintain the temp between 190 and 210 F for 2-3 more hours. The longer the better! Let it cool at room temp, then keep it in the fridge for the to fat harden. Again, the longer this goes on for the better. When your ready to use this tasty meat, heat it up to melt the fat, then remove the meat. Oh, and save that fat!
I mixed the duck with some of the remaining fat, a little of the bechamel, chopped sage, cranberry relish and a tiny bit of salt.
I also pan fried the ravioli in duck fat, added in the sage for flavour, but removed it for the final plate. The result was sort of like a ravioli pot sticker - nice and crispy!