We’re trying our hand with recipes from the French Laundry Cookbook. Learn more about the man behind the brand in our post on Thomas Keller. Try our other French Laundry recipe Florida Lobster Crepes. Today … we’re whipping up Roulade ofDuck Breast with Creamed Sweet White Corn and Morel Mushroom Sauce

This beautiful dish showcases classic French cutting techniques such as mirepoix and brunoise, and decadent sauce made from scratch. If you have the time and the inclination, challenge yourself to follow the original recipe – the reward will astound your taste buds! That said, you may not have hours to spend in the kitchen, so we’ve included a few shortcuts that produce similarly spectacular flavors.

This recipe has 4 different parts to it: Creamed Corn, Duck Roulade, a “quick” sauce, and a Morel Sauce. Ready? Let’s get started.

CREAMED CORN
(This can be made a day ahead.)

  • 5 ears sweet white corn
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Shuck the corn and set one ear aside. Cut the kernels from four uncooked ears. Discard the cobs, and blend the kernels in a blender to make a puree. Strain the puree through a sieve to make corn juice, then strain a second time to ensure the smoothest consistency. Cut the kernels off the remaining ear of corn, blanch them in boiling water, and cool in an ice bath. Drain and pat dry, then set aside. Pour the corn juice into a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it thickens. Add butter, blanched corn kernels, and a dash of salt and pepper.

DUCK ROULADE

  • 2 boneless duck breasts, skinned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Ground allspice
  • 2 leaves Swiss chard

Season each side of the breasts with a mixture of salt, pepper, and allspice, then set aside. Blanch the Swiss chard for about 3 minutes in salted water, then transfer to an ice bath and dry leaves with paper towels. Lay out the leaves on a cutting board and carefully remove the center ribs.

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 9.00.35 AMRoll each duck breast lengthwise and wrap each with one leaf of Swiss chard. Then wrap each roulade tightly in plastic wrap and tie the ends, leaving no space for water to enter. Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil and cook each roulade for about 8 minutes, depending on the desired rareness. Do not remove the plastic wrap. Dry with a paper towel and let sit 5 minutes before unwrapping to ensure the juices do not escape.

“QUICK SAUCE”
This sauce is anything but quick, however the complex flavor is worth the effort and really makes the entire dish successful.  Shortcut:  No time for “Quick” Sauce? Simmer a mixture of veal stock, chicken stock, and mirepoix vegetables until it reduces to one-third the original volume. Although it will be thinner than our sauce, the concentrated flavor tastes great in this recipe.

  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds pre-sliced veal marrow bones
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups organic, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup each carrots, leeks, and onions, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (a.k.a. “mirepoix”; learn the technique in À la Française in our post on French Cooking Techniques.)
  • 2 cups organic, low-sodium veal or beef stock
  • 1 sprig thyme

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 9.08.04 AMHeat grapeseed oil on high heat in a pot large enough for the bones to be spread out in one layer. When the oil is very hot, add the bones. Sear bones for about 10 minutes on one side. Do not stir them around – just let them sear until they are browned to a deep caramel color all over. Then, flip them over and brown the other side the same way. You will deglaze the pan three times. For the first deglazing, add 1/2 cup water to the pot. Stir with a wooden spoon and be sure to scrape up everything at the bottom of the pan. After one minute, add the mirepoix vegetables and thyme, and continue to stir until the water has evaporated and the pot is sizzling again. Once the vegetables start to caramelize like the bones, do a second deglazing the same way, only instead of water add 1/2 cup chicken stock. For the third deglazing, add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups veal stock, and 1 cup water. Deglaze the pan, stir well, and simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours, skimming the foam often until the stock has reduced to the level of the bones.

Strain the sauce through a wide-mesh sieve, pressing to squeeze out as much as possible. You will have about 2 cups of liquid. Pour liquid into a small pot and simmer to reduce to 1 cup, and strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Makes about 3/4 cup of sauce, or as we like to call it “Liquid Gold.”

MOREL SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 4-ounce package dried morels (about 5-6 pieces)
  • 3/4 cup “Quick” Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon finely diced carrots, celery, and leeks (a.k.a. “brunoise”;  learn the technique in À la Française in our post on French Cooking Techniques.)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced Italian parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 9.16.56 AMSoak mushrooms until reconstituted, then pat dry on paper towels. Slice mushrooms, then saut. in one tablespoon of butter in a skillet for 1 minute. Add warm “Quick” Sauce or Shortcut Reduction (saving enough for a spoonful on each plate), add chives, shallots, brunoise vegetables, and parsley. Cook until tender, then remove from heat and add one more tablespoon of cold butter, whisking until the sauce becomes glossy.