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Recipe: Duck Consommé with Matzah Balls

Yield: 4 Servings Ingredients: 1 whole 4-pound duck 11 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, plus additional to taste 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cups white wine 2 onions, diced 6 … Read More

By / March 28, 2007

Yield: 4 Servings Ingredients: 1 whole 4-pound duck 11 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, plus additional to taste 4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 cups white wine 2 onions, diced 6 ribs celery, diced 2 carrots, diced 2 bay leaves 3 whole peppercorns 2 ounces tomato paste 5 ounces boneless, skinless, chicken breast 2–3 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped 4 ounces egg whites, whisked 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 12 baby carrots 2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons cold duck fat ½ cup matzah meal 2 Tablespoons soda water 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste Method: Carefully cut off the duck’s legs and breasts, leaving the skin intact. Make a marinade of 6 sprigs of the chopped fresh thyme, the garlic, ¼ teaspoon of the ground white pepper, and 2 Tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Divide the marinade between the legs and breasts, seasoning only the flesh-side of the breasts. Refrigerate overnight. The next morning, pre-heat the oven to 225º F. Remove the duck legs from the fridge and place them in a small, shallow oven-safe dish. Cover the dish and roast the legs for 12 hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Do not drain. Preheat another oven to 375º F. De-bone what remains of the duck. Remove any excess fat and discard. With a large cleaver, cut the carcass into pieces, including the wing tips and neck. Place all the pieces in a roasting pan; cover and roast, turning occasionally, until golden brown, for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour out the fat that renders, reserving it for later use. Pour 2 cups of white wine into the roasting pan with the duck pieces. With a wooden spoon, scrape off any duck pieces that are stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan. Place the pan over low heat on the stove and reduce the liquid by half. Make a mirepoix vegetable by sautéing the onions, celery, carrots, and remaining extra virgin olive oil over medium heat for approximately 20 minutes, or until tender. Set aside. With a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the duck bones and parts from the white wine reduction to a large stockpot on the stove. Pour water into the pot to cover. Bring to a boil and skim off any scum that forms at the top. Add half the prepared mirepoix and set the rest aside for later use. Add 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs of thyme, and the peppercorns to the stock. Cover and simmer for approximately 2 hours. Strain the stock through a chinois fin (fine mesh sieve) and allow to cool. Scrape off any fat that rises to the top. (This should yield approximately 2 quarts.) Return the stock back to a boil. Place the remaining mirepoix, or approximately 6 ounces, in a food processor and pulse. Add the tomato paste and continue to pulse. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan and caramelize over low heat for approximately 10 minutes. Place the chicken breast into the food processor and pulse until fine. Whisk the egg whites thoroughly. Combine the mirepoix and tomato mixture with the whisked egg white, minced chicken, remaining bay leaf, thyme, and tarragon. Mix well. Return the stock to a roiling boil and pour the vegetable/chicken/egg white/herb mixture into the pot. Agitate the bottom of the stockpot with a whisk so that nothing sticks. Wait until a “raft” forms on top of the stock and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Ventilate the raft by carefully poking two small holes through it. Simmer for approximately 2 hours, or until the consommé appears clear through the holes. Remove from heat. Line a chinois fin with cheesecloth. With a slotted spoon, gently remove one edge of the raft to easily access the consommé; discard the raft. With a small ladle, begin removing consommé from the pot and pass it through the chinois, allowing the consommé to cool. (Make sure to use a ladle for this last step. You want to leave some liquid in the pot for blanching the carrot garnish and the matzah balls.) When the consommé is cool, scrape off any fat that rises. Remove the duck breasts from the fridge. Trim and score them, skin-side only. Season the flesh-side only with remaining white pepper and the ground allspice. In a dry, non-stick pan over low heat, sear the duck breasts, skin-side down, for approximately 15 minutes. Periodically drain and discard the fat that renders in the pan so the skin gets crispy. Flip the breasts over onto the flesh side to sear for an additional 2 minutes to ensure that they are cooked through; remove from heat and let rest. Reheat the leftover consommé. Simmer the baby carrots in the liquid; remove from the liquid and let cool on a plate. Keep the liquid hot. To prepare the matzah balls, beat the eggs in a mixing bowl; combine with the cold duck fat reserved from roasting the duck. Mix well. Fold in the matzah meal. Add the soda water and salt, and mix well to incorporate. Using 2 spoons, shape 12 quenelles, or footballs, of the matzah mixture. Blanch the matzah balls in the leftover consommé. (If there is not enough liquid, add water to cover the matzah balls in the pot.) The matzah balls should cook, covered, for approximately 10 minutes, or until they fluff up and float. Carefully remove them from the liquid with a slotted spoon and allow them to cool on a plate. Reheat the roasted duck legs. In a dry, non-stick pan over low heat, sear the duck legs, skin-side down, for approximately 5 minutes. Periodically drain and discard the fat that renders, so the skin gets crispy. Remove from heat. Remove the thigh and leg bones. Cut each leg in half lengthwise, to make 4 pieces.

To plate the soup, reheat the consommé. Place half of a duck leg in each of 4 large, shallow, heated soup bowls at “8 o’clock.” Slice the duck breasts thinly on the bias and fan out half of each breast into the bowls at “10 o’clock.” Reheat the matzah balls and carrots in a small amount of leftover consommé. Place 2 or 3 matzah balls in each bowl at “4 o’clock.” Neatly stack 3 carrots in each bowl at “2 o’clock.” Season the consommé with additional salt and ground white pepper to taste. Ladle the consommé carefully into each bowl and serve immediately.

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