Recently, a friend of mine on Instagram asked me if I would like to be a contributing member of his blog the Big Green Egg Brotherhood. This blog includes several members all of whom cook on Big Green Eggs. It took me about 3 seconds to answer with an emphatic yes! His site is still under construction but one of the sections will be a play on the TV show Chopped. The way this “Chopped Challenge” will work is this: All of the contributing members will work with the same 3 ingredients and create a brand new dish then blog about it. It is not so much a competition as a way to stretch all of us to be more creative and to work with different ingredients. This post shows my response to our first challenge featuring Duck Breast, Cherries, and Chard. So, sit back, grab a nice glass of Merlot, and enjoy my recipe for Big Green Egg Seared Duck Breast (with Cherry Polenta and Rainbow Chard).
Big Green Egg Seared Duck Breast
I wanted to do something different with the cherries as the obvious choice is a cherry sauce for the duck (which I did too). But the “something different” I chose to do is put the cherries in the polenta then make little polenta cakes. To do this I needed chicken stock, parmesan cheese, cornmeal, eggs, dried cherries, and water.
To make the polenta, boil the water and stock then add the cornmeal. Once this has mixed through lower the heat to simmer and let sit covered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Now mix the polenta with the cherries and place in a greased pan. Place in the fridge to let this set. Then slice in to squares (then triangles) to top off on the grill later.
Working with Chard is interesting. Both the leaves and the stalks are edible but cook differently. So, to prepare this dish you cut off the stems from the leaves, ribbon cut the leaves, and chop the stems in to 2″ pieces. Sauté the leaves in sliced garlic and olive oil until wilted and soft then pull off. Next, sauté the stems until soft and then add back in the leaves. Top off with fresh lemon zest… yummy!
This was my first time cooking duck on anything, let alone the Big Green Egg. So for this cook I decided to go with the Lodge Cast Iron Pan. I preheated the BGE to 400° and placed the Cast Iron Pan on the grilling surface. In addition, I had the mise en place prepped and ready for the sauce (Cherries, Chicken Stock, Shallots, Tawny 20 yr Port, and Honey).
I placed the butter in the preheated pan and waited for it to melt.
Next, I placed the Duck Breasts skin side down in the pan. The key to a successful Duck Breast is to render out all the fat from the skin. To do so you have to be patient and keep the skin side down for about 10 minutes.
Once the skin was brown and crispy I turned the duck breasts and cooked for another 5 minutes.
I took the Duck Breasts out of the pan, poured off all but 2 Tbls of the duck fat, and placed the shallots in the pan until they were translucent. I added the remaining ingredients and brought it to a boil. After 10 minutes or so, the sauce had reduced and I was able to pull it off the BGE.
While the sauce was reducing I took the polenta triangles and grilled them for about 3 minutes per side.
Here is the dinner plated and the duck w/o the sauce. I wanted you to see the crispy skin and perfect medium rare meat inside.
Finally, here is the dinner served with the duck sauced. This was a wonderful meal and went nicely with the Seghesio Zinfandel.
Big Green Egg Seared Duck Breast
- 4 Duck Breasts
- 2 Tbls butter
- Make cross slits in the duck skin.
- Pound the duck breasts gently to even out the size.
- Preheat the BGE to 400° and place the Cast Iron Pan on the grilling surface.
- Place the butter in the preheated pan and waited for it to melt.
- Place the Duck Breasts skin side down in the pan.
- The key to a successful Duck Breast is to render out all the fat from the skin - to do so you have to be patient and keep the skin side down for about 10 minutes.
- Once the skin was brown and crispy turn the duck breasts and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pull the Duck out of the pan and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- 1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 4 pounds rainbow chard—thick stems discarded inner ribs removed and cut into 2-inch lengths, leaves cut into 2-inch ribbons
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tspn finely grated lemon zest
- Cut off the stems from the leaves, ribbon cut the leaves, and chop the stems in to 2" pieces.
- Sauté the leaves in sliced garlic and olive oil until wilted then pull off.
- Now sauté the stems until soft and then add back in the leaves.
- Top off with fresh lemon zest
Cherry Polenta Triangles
- 2 c water
- 2 c chicken stock
- 1 1/2 c cornmeal
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 c Parmesan cheese
- 2 c dried cherries chopped
- Boil the water and stock then add the cornmeal.
- Once this has mixed through lower the heat to simmer and let sit covered for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
- Now you mix the polenta with the cherries and place in a greased pan.
- Place in the fridge to let this set.
- Then slice in to squares (then triangles) to top off on the grill later.
Cherry Duck Sauce
- 1 Tbls chilled butter
- 1/4 c finely chopped shallot
- 1/2 c chicken broth
- 8 halved pitted sweet red cherries fresh or frozen, thawed
- 2 Tbls tawny Port
- 1 Tbls honey
- Pour off all but 2 Tbls of the duck fat, and place the shallots in the pan until they were translucent.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a boil.
- After 10 minutes or so, the sauce will reduce.
- Pull off the heat and mix in the cold butter.