If this dish looks fancy, that’s because it is. I make no apologies on this one. That said, it is not terribly difficult to pull together if you follow the recipe. I created this dish for a duck hunter’s dinner in mid-winter, and I wanted to highlight the winter veggies available: Butternut squash, jerusalem artichokes and pomegranate seeds.
It’s a beautiful color combination, and the flavors sing on the plate. If you makes this, it will be worth your effort.
To properly make the squash (which looks disturbingly like cheap cheddar cheese), you will need a vacuum sealer and a sous vide machine. If you don’t have these, you can try this with a seal-able plastic bag and a stockpot full of hot water. It will work, just not as well. A good alternative would be to cut the squash into the slices you want and roast them at 375 degrees until tender.
If you can’t find jerusalem artichokes, also known as sunchokes, use potatoes. You really need the pomegranate seeds for color and acidity, though, so do your best to find them.
What sort of critter to use here? I design this recipe for Canada goose breast, but any goose breast will work, including domestic. Wild or domestic duck breasts are also good. Don’t like duck? Use venison or lamb medallions.
- 1 goose breast, or 1 whole wild goose breast (both sides), or 2 whole duck breasts, or 3 whole wild duck breasts
- 6 tablespoons duck fat or butter, divided
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and seeded
- 2 pounds jerusalem artichokes, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1/2 cup duck demi-glace or other reduced stock or broth
- Seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate
- smoked salt
- White truffle oil (optional)
- Cut the butternut squash into a rectangular block. Cut that into slices of about 1/4 inch thick that are about the size of a cross-section of the goose or duck breast. Remember the meat will tighten up in cooking, so make the squash slices a little narrower and a little taller than the raw breast meat. You will need at least 24 slices.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of duck fat and coat the squash slices with it. Salt well and seal in a single layer with a vacuum sealer. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, use a seal-able plastic bag. Cook the squash for 90 minutes at 180 degrees in a sous vide machine. If you don’t have a sous vide machine, bring a large stockpot of water to the steaming point – not a simmer – and drop the sealed squash in. Turn the heat to low and do not let the squash simmer.
- Meanwhile, take the goose breasts out of the fridge and salt well. Set aside to come to room temperature.
- Boil the jerusalem artichokes in a pot of salted water until they are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Drain and then return to the pot with the cream, a teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons duck fat. Mash well.
- Transfer the jerusalem artichokes to a blender and puree. Taste for salt and add if needed. Add a little cream if the mixture is too stiff. You want the puree to be like the smoothest mashed potatoes you’ve ever eaten. Set aside in a covered pot over the lowest possible heat.
- Heat the remaining duck fat over medium-high heat in a large saute pan for 1 minute.
- Pat the goose breasts dry with paper towels and sear, skin side down, for 3-5 minutes. You want to do most of the cooking on this side. Adjust the heat to get a steady sizzle. Turn the breasts and finish cooking for another 2-5 minutes, depending on how thick they are. You may want to “kiss” the sides of the breasts to brown them, too. (Here are full details on how to properly sear a duck or goose breast.)
- Take the goose out and let it rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes. Remove the squash from the sealed bag and carefully lay out on a plate or cutting board.
- Heat the demi-glace up in a small pot.
- To finish the dish, use a large spoon to put down some jerusalem artichoke puree. Leave a well in the center of the puree, and fill that with the duck demi-glace. Slice the goose breast and lay slices on the puree, alternating with the squash.
- Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on the plate and dust with smoked salt. Drizzle a bit of truffle oil over everything if you want.