Duck 2 Ways with Apple-Pomegranate Gastrique
- 4 duck legs
- 4 duck breasts
- 4 to 5 cups duck fat (or olive oil)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a casserole dish, place the duck legs and season well with salt. Cover with the duck fat (or olive oil) and add the rosemary and garlic. Cover with a lid or tin foil.
- Bake at 275˚F for 6 to 8 hours.
- Remove from the oven carefully and allow to cool.
- Pull the bones out carefully (try not to pull out too much meat).
- Score the skin of the duck breasts and season with salt and pepper.
- In an oven-proof saucepan, cook the duck breasts over a very low flame, allowing the fat to slowly render out and become crisp.
- Place saucepan in a 375˚F oven until the duck breasts reach 125˚F internal temperature.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the duck breasts to rest before slicing.
- For the gastrique, combine the pomegranate juice, cider and applesauce in a small sauce pan. Cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. Strain, and discard the solids.
- In another small pot, cook the sugar and vinegar about 10 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved.
- Combine the vinegar mixture with the cider mixture and cook for about 5minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For Leslie Lampert, the owner of Café of Love in Mount Kisco, apples offer an opportunity to harness local flavor and create something new. “Each variety of apple offers something different—different texture, acidity and personality,” Lampert stresses. Comparing ingredients to a chorus of individual yet synchronized dancers, Lampert says the goal of layering flavors is to create a unified statement. “That’s the essence of cooking,” she says. She applies this philosophy to a duck dish in which apples enter in four different forms: The duck is paired with apple cider-spiked polenta, sautéed apples and beets, pomegranate-apple gastrique and fresh julienned apples. Apples pair naturally with duck, just as they do with pork, because the meat is rich and fatty—the fruit’s tartness creates a harmonious juxtaposition of flavors. Here, sweet gastrique, earthy beets and fresh apples lend freshness to the duck’s rich canvas of flavors. Lampert designs all the menu items at Café of Love—if she is the conductor of the orchestra, chef Hector Coronel is her first violin. Coronel has been with Café of Love since it first opened and uses French techniques to implement Lampert’s visions. He sautés duck breast for the dish and makes confit duck legs that are tender and moist.