From: Chef Kurt Grasing, Grasing, Monterey, CA. Yield: 4 servings.
2 5-lb. Maple Leaf Farms ducks
¼ cup carrot, finely chopped
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup celery, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. five-spice
1 tsp. ginger
½ cup red wine
2 cups duck stock
1 cup wild rice
1 cup cooked rice (pilaf-style)
2 duck carcasses (about 4 lb.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1⁄8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1½ cup chopped carrots
1½ cup chopped celery
3 cups chopped yellow onions
1 head of garlic, split in half
6 bay leaves
1 cup dry red wine
¼ cup tomato paste
3 qt. water
10 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 tsp. black peppercorns
Debone both ducks, separating breasts from carcasses. Remove skin and set boneless, skinless breast aside.
For braised duck legs: Remove legs from carcass; trim, leaving skin on. Brown and braise slowly, covered, for 1 hour in 1 cup of duck stock (see recipe below). Remove from heat.
For finishing sauce: Saute carrot, onion and celery until lightly browned. Add five spice; sauté lightly with ginger; add red wine and reduce by half. Add 1 cup of duck stock and reduce to one half. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
For boneless duck breast: Score skin at ¼” intervals. Turn and score at 90° angle from first score, making a criss-cross pattern. Season duck breast with salt and pepper. Preheat conventional oven to 350°F. Preheat a coated pan on medium low heat. Place the duck breast, skin-side down, into the fry pan and render for 10 to 12 minutes or until the fat is rendered and skin is crisp and brown. Turn duck breast over and sear meat side for 2 minutes. Transfer duck breast to oven and cook until internal temperature reaches 150°F to 152°F. Remove duck breast when temperature has been reached. Allow duck breast to rest for 3 to 4 minutes before slicing. The temperature will continue to rise during the resting period and should reach 160°F to 165°F.
For wild rice: Cook wild rice in 3 cups salted water until done, approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Fold in cooked white rice. If desired, add currants or almonds.
For duck stock: Break and crack the bones of the carcasses. Heat olive oil in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Season the bones with 1 tsp. of the salt and black pepper. Add bones to the pot and brown for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaves and remaining tsp. salt. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
Add wine and tomato paste and stir to mix. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water. Put the thyme and tarragon sprigs in a piece of cheesecloth; tie it together with kitchen twine and add to the mixture. Add peppercorns and bring mixture to a boil. Skim off any cloudy scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and cool. Refrigerate overnight and remove any congealed fat from the surface. Stock can be stored in freezer for 1 month.
To serve: Place 6 to 8 oz. of rice mixture on each plate. Lay duck leg against it. Slice and fan duck breast around leg. Top with sauce.
Photo: Maple Leaf Farms and California Wild Rice