Spiced Duck Breast with Rancho Gordo Wild Rice Custard and Truffle Sauce


Main Dishes

Recipe for Spiced Duck Breast with Rancho Gordo Wild Rice Custard and Truffle Sauce

For the Duck:

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground allspice
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 5 duck breasts (about 8-9 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In an electric spice or coffee grinder, pulverize the coriander seed and juniper berries. Combine with the salt, cayenne, allspice, cloves and sugar.
  2. Trim the silver skin and excess fat from the duck breasts. Coat the duck breasts heavily on both sides with the spice mixture. Place in a covered container and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  3. Brush any excess cure from the duck with a damp towel. Don't wash or season the duck. Score the skin at 1/4-inch intervals.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Place the duck breasts in the pan, skin side down, and render - cooking for 8 minutes or until the skin is golden and crisp. Turn the duck breasts over and cook, meat side down, until medium rare - about 3-4 minutes longer, reducing the heat to medium. Remove the duck breasts from the pan and rest on a cutting board for 4-5 minutes. Slice on the bias for service.

Wild Rice Custard:

  • 1/4 cup mirepoix (finely diced carrot, onion and celery)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 cup Broken Arrow Ranch cured venison sausage, skinned, and finely chopped (or use a cured sausage like andouille)
  • 1 1/2 cups Rancho Gordo Wild Rice
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the mirepoix, bay leaves, thyme and sausage and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to soften. Add the wild rice and stir to coat with the rendered fat and flavorings.
  2. Add enough cold water to cover the rice by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until rice is tender. Drain any excess liquid and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and cream with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled wild rice.
  4. Butter ten 4-ounce custard cups or ramekins and set them in a shallow baking pan. Add water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Divide the custard mixture between the ramekins and place the pan in a preheated 300ºF oven. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the custards are set and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • 2 cups Cakebread Merlot
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 15 peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cups veal stock
  • 1 cup chopped assorted wild and exotic mushrooms (chanterelles, trumpet mushrooms, morels, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup canned truffles, minced
  1. In a saucepan, combine the wine, shallots, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the veal stock and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half.
  2. Add the mushrooms and continue to simmer until the sauce is reduced by two-thirds. Strain into a clean saucepan and stir in the cream. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the minced truffles and simmer 5 minutes longer. Finish with truffle oil. Keep warm.

Braised Greens:

  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 8 cups (packed) mustard greens, washed and destemmed
  • 3/4 cup veal stock
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. In a large saucepan, cook the bacon over medium high heat until nearly crisp. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaves, and continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and golden brown.
  2. Deglaze with the vinegar, stirring up any browned bits. Add the greens and stir over high heat until the leaves are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the veal stock, sugar and red pepper flakes, reduce heat to low and braise until the greens are very tender, about 1 hour. Drain in a colander and keep warm.

Foie Gras Mustard:

  • 1/2 pound fresh foie gras, cleaned and sliced 1 inch thick
  • Salt and white pepper
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tablespooon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup veal stock
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Tiny mustard greens to garnish (optional)


  1. Season the foie gras with salt and pepper. In a very hot, nonstick pan, quickly sear the foie gras on both sides - about 1 minute per side - until just caramelized but still medium rare in the center. Place the foie gras, and any fat in the pan, in a mixing bowl to rest.
  2. In the same sauté pan, add shallots, garlic and mustard seed. Sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Deglaze with the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then stir in the veal stock. Simmer over medium low heat until all of the liquid in the pan has evaporated, then add the contents of the pan to the bowl with the seared foie gras. Stir in the Dijon.
  3. Transfer to a food processor and purée until very smooth. Strain through a fine sieve or tamis. Cover and chill.
  4. To serve, run a knife around the molds to loosen the custards and invert one onto each individual serving plate. Place a portion of braised greens next to the custard. Prop several slices of duck over the custard and greens. Top with a dollop of foie gras mustard and drizzle some of the sauce around the base of the duck. Garnish with a bouquet of extra fresh, tiny mustard greens.

Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Merlot.


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