Chappapeela Farms Duck Breast With Creamy Mascarpone Polenta and Pickled Cherries

Serves 4. Recipe is from chef Peter Sclafani III of Ruffino’s, 18811 Highland Road, Baton Rouge.

4 Chappapeela Farms duck breasts

Sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and Duck Spice (see recipe) to taste

1/2 cup bing cherries, pitted, halved

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 star anise pod

2 cardamon pods

1 cup port wine

1 cup veal demi-glace

1 tbl. mayhaw syrup or jelly

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta (see recipe)

1. Score the skin of the duck breast with a paring knife. Season the breast with sea salt, pepper and Duck Spice.

2. Heat a skillet over medium heat and place the duck breast skin side down. Sear until the duck skin is golden brown, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until all the fat is rendered out and the skin is crisp. Turn over and cook on the meat side until medium rare (135 to 140 degrees). Remove to a plate to rest.

3. Put the cherries in a small bowl and set aside. Combine the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon, star anise and cardamom in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce by a third. Strain the liquid into the bowl with the cherries and let marinate.

4. Heat the port in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the veal demi-glace and simmer. Reduce to a sauce consistency and stir in the mayhaw syrup. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

5. Place half a cup of polenta on a plate, slice the duck breast and place over the polenta. Spoon the sauce over and around the duck. Garnish with a couple of pickled cherries.

Duck Spice

2 star anise pods

8 cloves

1/2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

2 tsps. coriander seed

1 tbl. of sea salt

1 tbl. five-spice powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Place the star anise, cloves, peppercorns and coriander in a dry pan and heat gently over low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant. Grind to a fine powder, stir in the salt, five spice and cinnamon. Store in an airtight container.

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1/2 cup corn meal

1/2 cup semolina

1/2 cup fontina cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 cup mascarpone cheese

In a large heavy pot over high heat, combine the stock, cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. While whisking, gradually add the corn meal and semolina. Continue to stir while cooking. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the cheeses until melted and remove from heat.

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