Duck breast, red wine sauce

As it would seem that the winter, the real one, with frost and even snow should reach our regions this weekend, I propose you a rustic recipe of season. And it’s still duck, but this time I use duck breasts instead of a whole duck. Pay attention to the quality of the product, the duck breasts ‘Labels Rouge’ are quite satisfactory. I prepare them with braised chicory  and chunky potato fries cooked in the fat of duck breast.

I love braised braised chicory, I use chicory grown in the ground, not the ones from hydroculture. I do not remove the small bitter cone from the foot of the vegetable and I cook them long and well fondant. It is obvious that you can adapt the recipe according to your personal taste.

Duck breasts, red wine sauce

Duck breasts, red wine sauce
Duck breasts, red wine sauce

Let’s start with the chicory

We need: 1 kg of chicory, the juice of half a lemon, 50 g of butter, 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper.

Remove any wilted leaves from the chicory. Wash them and arrange them side by side in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Put the butter and sugar on the vegetables, sprinkle them with lemon juice and season the chicory with salt and pepper. Add 1 dl of water and cook the chicory for 35 minutes on low heat and under a lid.

Check the level of liquid in the pan from time to time, the chicory should not burn.

Remove the lid, and set up the fire. Caramelize the chicory on all sides and keep warm.

Continuing with the magrets

3 duck breasts, 1 half bottle of full-bodied red wine, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, 30 g of butter, salt and pepper.

Score the skin side of the breasts in small squares. Cook the duck breasts over medium heat, side by side for 10 minutes on the skin side, then 5 minutes on the flesh side. Continue cooking the breasts for 10 minutes, under a sheet of aluminum, in a preheated 160 ° oven, remove them from the pan and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Pour the fat of duck in a clean skillet, it will serve to cook the fries.

Deglaze the first pan with the red wine, add the honey and the thyme and reduce by half. Thicken  the sauce with  pieces of fresh butter and season with salt and pepper.

Then the fries ….

1 kg of potatoes, coarse salt, cooking fat of the magrets

Peel the potatoes, then cut them into large fries.

Sponge the fries in a kitchen towel and fry them golden brown  in  not too hot duck fat for about 15 minutes . Drain the fries and sprinkle the fries with coarse salt.

Enjoy !, English version

At the start of this new year we have decided to translate some of our blog posts in English.

Our blog, which started as a complement of our site, online since 2012, is about explanation and illustrating mostly Belgian, French, and Italian recipes.

We started at that time as food stylists for magazines and cookbooks, we evolved as recipes authors and photographers.

We think the time is right to share our recipes and images to an English speaking public.

As we are no native English writers, please forgive us some mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to ask us for explanations if you don’t understand everything.

So, let’s start with a first recipe, which is typical Belgian, although with some twists.

Belgian chicons au gratin

The chicons, Belgian chicory, au gratin, is a star dish for  Belgian winters which we are happy to share with our English speaking readers.

The constraints of publishing force us from time to time to use ingredients well before their season. This week we had to cook white asparagus. Unfortunately, they came from Peru and they were tasteless, full of water and without any taste. It was rather a shame, the result was frankly disappointing, but it is still an additional reason to advocate the use of seasonal products grown naturally and preferably locally. There is no pleasure in eating asparagus, strawberries or cherries in February, especially if these products are expensive and tasteless.

Here is a recipe of chicons (endives in French and chicory in English) au gratin. They are tasty, cheap and seasonal!
Chicons au gratin is a traditional Belgian recipe that we have modified a little. Our endives are braised instead of being boiled in lots of  water, and we dare to use fresh grated Parmesan instead of Gruyere. We hope you can follow and forgive us this slight break with Belgian traditional cuisine.

Ingredients:  1 kg of chicory, the juice of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar, 30 g of butter, 8 not too fine slices of quality ham, 150 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

And for the bechamel sauce: 50 g of flour, 35 g of butter, 1/2 liter of milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Let us  first cook the chicory. Remove the slightly wilted leaves and wash the chicory. Arrange them side by side in a large casserole. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper and sprinkle with pieces of butter. Add a little of water and cook the chicory over low heat for 40 to 50 minutes, this dish requires well-cooked vegetables. Drain the chicory while preserving the cooking juice for the béchamel sauce.

Melt the butter, mix the flour with the melted butter and cook for 10 minutes, on low heat, stirring and without allowing to color. Gradually add the milk to the roux, always stirring the mixture and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the chicory cooking juice to the sauce and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and possibly a little lemon juice to add a bit of taste.

Roll each piece of chicory, drained well, into a slice of ham and arrange them side by side in a gratin dish. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle all with a nice layer of Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 °

Serve this dish with mashed potatoes or simply with bread.

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