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Duck Confit

Duck Confit with potato gnocchiMy favorite time of year for cooking is finally here and we have just launched our new fall menu.  Over the next week or so, I will be sharing pictures and stories about our new menu items on our page.

The first dish I would like to introduce is my favorite dish on the fall menu that is a completely new addition; the Duck Confit.  Duck Confit has been one of my favorite ways to enjoy duck since I first encountered it as a student at The Culinary Institute of America.  I was very excited when a local farmer approached me about using his duck on our menu.  He raises ducks for egg production, so he was looking for an outlet for his male ducks.  He brought me a sample duck, and I decided to prepare the entire duck confit style.  It was delicious!  My kitchen staff and I enjoyed preparing it in many ways and enjoying it for lunch for several days.

House Made Duck ConfitFor those of you who do not know what “confit” is, here is a very simplified explanation.  This method is an old world style of preserving meat so it wont spoil as quickly.  The duck is butchered and rubbed with a cure/spice mixture and pressed for a couple of days.  This allows the salt to extract the moisture from the meat, while the meat absorbs the spice flavor.  Then the meat is rinsed to remove all the excess salt and spices and allowed to dry out on a rack in the cooler until a pellicle (dry skin) forms on the surface.  Then the meat is submerged in a bath of hot duck fat and slow cooked until the meat is tender and falls off the bone, similar to pulled pork.  The meat is cooled in the fat to allow it to reabsorb some of the fat and to prevent the air from getting to the meat.  The absence of water/moisture and air preserve the meat.

The final preparation came about kind of “on the fly” one afternoon as I was doing some early morning cooking.  My intention was to get some cooking done early, then hand off the kitchen to my Sous Chef and enjoy a weekend in Lake Placid with our GM, Barry as he celebrated his 40th birthday.  Unfortunately, my Sous Chef became ill, and I had to cancel my weekend.  I wanted to celebrate with Barry anyway, so I went into my kitchen and invented this dish.  We enjoyed it with some fresh baked baguette and a wonderful bottle of Super Tuscan wine.  It was a great lunch with a great friend.  Sometimes the best dishes just come out of nowhere.

Duck Confit
M&M Farm Duck Confit with Northwoods Farm mushrooms, brandy-peppercorn sauce and potato gnocchi.  Served in a “nest” of organic baby arugula that is dressed with truffle oil, Pecorino cheese and fresh ground pepper and topped with a poached duck egg.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Seared Scallops

Seared Scallops with sweet corn, English pea, and fresh fennel risotto.To complement the amazing New England scallops we brought in for this evenings featured entree; Chef Arthur did not have to look much further than our own gardens and a farm just around the corner….

 

Seared Scallops
Sweet corn, English Pea and fresh fennel risotto, heirloom tomato vinaigrette, spicy roasted chili cream.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

 

Duck Leg Confit

House Made Duck ConfitTo many people, it may feel like summer is nearly over; there are only 3 weeks until September.  Here in upstate NY our summer crops are just beginning to come to market.  While we are enjoying the bounties of the current harvests, as chefs, we must also be looking forward to the next season.  When beans and peas come in (green, sugar snap, snow, pole, haricot verte, etc) there are bushels of them and every farm has them for sale.  But it won’t be long before the season for them is over and they cannot be found.  That is why we pickle, brine, freeze, ferment and otherwise preserve many summer foods so that we can enjoy them in different forms throughout the fall and winter season.

Dilly BeansWe are currently making dilly beans, sauerkraut, pickles, freezing sweet corn (think chowders and fritters) and berries, making jams as well as curing local meats.

A great example of curing meat for the next season is duck confit.  This year I am fortunate to have a local farm (M&M Eggs) raising a flock of ducks for us.  They are heritage breed ducks that have a deep and robust flavor.  They are also quite a bit larger than farm raised ducks.  As most of my regular guests know, I am a huge fan of charcuterie (cured meats).  So I will prepare many of them into duck confit.  Confit is a process for preserving the meat for use over long periods.  Normally, only the legs are cured, but I cure the whole duck.  (The wings are a real treat that I enjoy saving for myself and our staff.)  It begins by rubbing the duck down with a mixture of salt and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices and curing the meat to remove the excess moisture. Then the meat is rinsed and slow cooked fully submerged in duck fat until the meat is tender and easily pulls from the bone.  The duck is then cooled and preserved in the fat.  We will be using the confit as a filling for our Duck Ravioli as well as a component on our Autumn Charcuterie Board on the fall menu.

I hope you are able to get to your local farmers market and take advantage of the wonderful variety of fresh food. While you are there, think about what you can do to preserve some of the bounty for your home table in the next season.  If you are too busy…..don’t worry, we have your back!  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Thai Watermelon Salad

Thai Watermelon SaladOn a hot summer day there is nothing better than a cool refreshing salad to start a meal.  This Thai watermelon salad fits the bill perfectly and is a great starter or accompaniment to grilled meat.  The simplicity of this salad makes it a great summer dish because it is relatively quick to prepare and utilizes ingredients that may be growing in your garden.

Thai Watermelon Salad
Sweet watermelon, Thai herbs (cilantro, mint, basil), fresh lime juice, roasted peanuts, fish sauce.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

 

Summer Mixed Grill

Summer Mixed GrillOne of our favorite types of dishes to prepare in the summer months is the mixed grill.  It allows us to play with culinary themes and flavors and utilize several varieties of local meats at once.  Tonight, Chef Arthur has put together a particularly delicious one that harnesses some classic summer grill flavors.

Summer Mixed Grill
Pat & April’s Country Pork Ribs, chipotle rub, honey-chive glaze.
Fresh Rosemary Grilled Shrimp
Peach Barbecue Glazed Chicken Breast
Bavarian potato salad, North Country Grown vegetables.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

Fresh From The Chef’s Garden

Smow Peas with fresh tarragon moussse and breakfast radishOur Chef’s Garden is really beginning to produce some wonderful vegetables.  This afternoon, my girls went out and picked a peck of snow peas.  They are tender, sweet and delicious; and they make a great amuse bouche.  I piped some fresh tarragon mousse on top and finished each one with some shaved breakfast radishes.  Simple. Elegant. Delicious.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian

The Chef’s Garden at 1844 House

Fresh garlic harvested from our Chef's Garden.Summer is moving along and we are beginning to harvest some delicious fruits of our labor.  The Walker girls (Savannah, Summer, and Ella) harvested our garlic today.  It is now hanging in the barn drying out.  Barry was busy working in the vineyard and harvesting these snow peas.  The tomatoes are just beginning to ripen; and we cant wait for them to be ready.  Vine ripening tomatoes from our Chef's GardenCome on in and taste the freshness in our Farm to Table cuisine.Fresh picked snow peas

See you soon.   Chef Brian

Summer Berry Tacos

Summer Berry TacosOur pastry cook Jessica Eakins created a delicious summer dessert that utilizes the fresh berries that we grow here in our gardens.

Summer Berry Tacos
Fresh crepes filled with cream cheese mousse, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and fresh mint.  Drizzled with a black raspberry coulis.

Come enjoy one in our bar or on the porch with a nice glass of Proseco or Rosé.

Bon Appetite!  Chef Brian