One of my favorite wineries here in the Napa Valley is Cakebread Cellars. Brian Streeter runs the kitchens and co-authored the seminal Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cookbook. More than almost any other book, I think this one really helps define Napa cuisine.
Brian came up with this challenging but delicious twist on the classic pot pie. It's a special event dish but well worth the bother.
Cakebread Cellars'Duck Pot Pie with Good Mother Stallards and Kale
8 oz. Rancho Gordo Good Mother Stallard beans 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped ½ onion, cut into four wedges 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped 1 bay leaf 2 tsp. salt 6 duck legs, boned and diced 1 small onion, diced 1 carrot, diced 1 stalk celery, diced 1 tsp. tomato paste 1 c. white wine 2 c. chicken stock 1 tsp. fresh thyme, picked 1 bay leaf 2 bunches cavelo nero* salt and pepper 1 lb. frozen puff pastry ½ c. flour 1 egg, beaten
Pick through beans to make sure there are no stones. Soak overnight in cold water to cover.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the beans and water into a large saucepan. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook until beans are tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Add salt and allow beans to cool in their own broth.
Meanwhile, heat a wide bottom skillet over high heat. Season the diced duck with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the pan along with the duck. Sear on all sides until brown. Remove from the pan and add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute until vegetables are soft. Stir in the tomato paste and deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom to release any of the brown glaze on the bottom of the pan. Reduce until wine is almost evaporated.
Return the duck to the pan with the thyme and bay leaf. Cover and place in the middle of the preheated oven. Cook for one hour until the duck is tender.
Puree one cup of the beans with enough of the broth from the duck to make a smooth puree. Add to the duck stew along with the remaining beans. Cut out the stems from the cavelo nero. Roughly chop it and blanch in boiling water until wilted and bright green. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out all the water and stir into the braised duck. Continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
Allow the puff pastry to come to room temperature. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to an 1/8” thickness. Using the bowls or cups that you plan on serving the pot pie in as a guide, cut out circles from the pastry about an inch wider in diameter.
Raise the oven temperature to 400°F. Ladle the stew into the serving bowl and lightly brush the rim with the beaten egg. Drape the puff pastry over the top and press to seal around the edges. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and set on a sheet pan. Place in the middle of the preheated oven. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Syrah.
**Cavelo nero is a type of kale popular in Italy. If unavailable substitute another variety of kale.