Monday, February 21, 2011

TurDuckEn Lasagna

TurDuckEn Lasagna
There are several components to this dish.  REALLY! SEVERAL!  First, we’re making duck stock and braised duck legs separately.  Then, we make braised turkey legs and chicken thighs. We then make a recipe of wild mushrooms; and, finally, a béchamel sauce.  In the middle of it all, we’re making the lasagna noodles.  Or are we “cheating” by purchasing the dry lasagna noodles, which are acceptable according to one of the—if not the—top Italian restaurants in NYC?  Finally, all is assembled and baked in the oven to make an incredible dish.  Whew! I’m tired just writing about it.  Here goes…
To make the duck stock and braised duck legs:
  • One 4 pound duck, discard excess fat from body cavity
  • One leek, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, one roughly chopped and one ready to chop
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/4 tsp salt      
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1parsnip
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon grape seed or canola oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup parsley, freshly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
First, become a duck butcher, or ask your local butcher to cut off the legs, wings, and breasts from the duck.  Cut up carcass and cut the wing tips off from the wings. The carcass and wing tips will be used for the duck stock.  Remove any bones from the duck breasts, leaving the skin on. Chill the legs, wings, and breasts in a sealable bag.   Use the breasts for another dish.  We used it for seared duck breasts with cherries and a port sauce (another recipe).  Now, let’s get back to the turducken lasagna.
Cut and wash the leek. Then put the leek in a stock pot (about a 6-8 quart-sized one) with the cut up duck carcass, the wing tips, the chopped onion, the carrot, the water, the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and gently simmer, uncovered, skimming foam occasionally, about 1 hour. Skim off and discard fat and strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl.  That’s the duck stock to use for the braising of the duck legs.  I know.  It’s a lot of work.  But, someone has to do this; unless, you’d rather go to a restaurant, but then you won’t have a story to tell your friends about how you made “fresh duck stock” from scratch.  Okay, let’s get back on track here...
In the mean time, while all of that is going on....preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle.
Coarsely chop remaining onion. Peel parsnips and cut into 3-inch batons (1/4 inch thick). Remove legs and wings from the fridge and pat them dry. Season them with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide 6- to 7-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers, add duck legs and wings and brown them, turning over once, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
In that pot, add the onions, parsnips, lemon juice, the salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and pale golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add 2 cups of the freshly made duck stock (save remainder for another use) and nestle in the duck legs and wings into the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover pot and braise in oven until meat is tender, about 1 hour.  Remove and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour.  The “duck” part of the “turducken” is now done….There are other components to the dish.  Yes, there are.  Here we go:

To make the turkey legs and chicken thighs:

·         2 whole turkey legs
·         4 chicken thighs (or 5 or 6 – whatever is available)
·         Dash of salt and pepper – about 1/8 of a tsp total
·         2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
·         ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
·         4 cups chicken stock (home-made, of course, or use any “leftover” duck stock to make a total of 4 cups chicken/duck stock)
·         3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
·         One 3 inch piece of ginger
·         ½ cup soy sauce, preferably Tamari

Place turkey legs and thighs in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Remove and brush off any excess salt, pepper, thyme.

Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Brown turkey legs and chicken thighs in batches, if necessary, on both sides.  After the legs/thighs are browned, add the chicken stock, light brown sugar, ginger and soy sauce to pot and simmer for 1 ½ hours, skimming foam as it rises to the top of the liquid.  Remove turkey and chicken thighs from pot and let ‘em all rest.  The “turkey and chicken components” of the dish are now done.  Whew…is this Thanksgiving?  No. It’s just a day in my kitchen.  Anyway, this could be made a day In advance.  Actually, either of the poultry parts could be made a day in advance.
  To make the wild mushrooms:

·         12 ounces of baby portabella mushrooms, stemmed and cleaned
·         6 ounces of shitake mushrooms, also stemmed and cleaned
·         2 Tablespoons of black truffle butter – (Or regular unsalted butter with a dollop of truffle oil…well…no)
·         ½ cup olive oil
·         4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
·         2 sprigs of rosemary
·         1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
·         1 tablespoon of freshly shredded sage
·         2 tablespoons of fresh parsley
·         Salt and pepper – about 1/8 teaspoon in total (I measure dashes and pinches)…
Heat butter and oil.  Sautee garlic briefly.  Add mushrooms and stir.  Let them soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until it all becomes aromatic.  Then, let the mushrooms rest a bit while you make the béchamel …..
To Make the Béchamel Sauce:
·         4 Tablespoons butter
·         4 Tablespoons arrowroot (I prefer arrowroot versus any flour product – better on the digestive system, I’m told)
·         1 cup milk
·         1 cup heavy cream
·         Salt and white pepper—a dash, or pinch, or 1/8 tsp

Melt butter in saucepan; add arrowroot, stirring with whisk until well blended.  Slowly, add milk and heavy cream, while stirring briskly with whisk.  Add salt and white pepper.  Stir until thick and smooth.  Lower heat and cook, stirring occasionally.  When done, add this mixture to the mushroom pan full of love.

At some point during the middle of this trifecta workload of creativity, boil the lasagna noodles.  Then drain them.  After draining the noodles, sprinkle them with some truffle oil (or unsalted butter) to prevent sticking…….

FINALLY, the combination:  Whew! Really!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9” x 13 ½” x 2” glass lasagna dish with black truffle butter…or unsalted butter or with truffle oil or whatever.  The goal here is to prevent it all from sticking to the dish.

Shred the meat from the braised duck legs, the braised turkey legs and the braised chicken thighs.  That’s a lot of fun to do.  Make sure that the meat isn’t piping hot when you do this. Mix all of the meat together.  After the trio of meat is ready to assemble, line the bottom of the lasagna dish with the béchamel/mushroom mixture; then sprinkle the combo of turducken meat, then top with a layer of the lasagna noodles; then continue with another layer of the mushroom mixture, the turkducken combination, the noodles, etc. until you’re done.  Finish with a layer of noodles on top; then dab with the black truffle butter/oil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Let rest for about 15 minutes.  Cut into pieces and serve and have your guests drool.  They will.  Guaranteed!

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