Duck breast, confit legs, foie gras, and boudin with gravy and cracklin
Supporting local ranchers and purchasing the best meat Texas has to offer is our main driving principle at LeRoy and Lewis. In our latest Patreon video, we shot the whole process of breaking down and preparing some of the best ducks I’ve ever seen. Countryside Farm, run by Sebastien Bonneu and his family, raises Muscovy ducks (some with foie gras), guinea hens, geese, chickens, pigeon, and more depending on the season. A real-deal culinarian, chef, and badass, Bonneu is known amongst chefs in Austin and the surrounding area for his quirkiness and quality products. He messages me a few times a year when they have fresh and delicious foie ducks available and I usually jump at the chance to cook them. Not only is this the one chance annually to get locally raised foie gras, but the ducks themselves are the best I’ve ever had. This year we shot the whole process for our Patreon and it ended up being our longest video yet and it doesn’t even include our farm tour with him (that’ll have to wait til next week). This one alone is worth the subscription price.
Countryside Farm: Duck Breast, Confit Legs, Foie Gras, and Boudin with Gravy and Cracklin
We receive the ducks whole and head on. The first thing we do is take the foie out of the cavity by reaching in with a gloved hand and doing our best to pull out the lobes in one piece. Next we remove the head and neck. The neck gets skinned and we remove the breasts and legs being careful not to leave any meat on the carcass. After the legs and breasts are removed they get trimmed and shaped and any skin or big pieces of meat are trimmed from the carcass. Once fully broken down, we have two legs quarters for confit, two breasts for searing, two whole wings, a clean carcass, and a pile of skin and fat.
The carcass and wings get smoked and cooked in a stock and then the meat gets picked clean from the boiled bones. This meat gets reserved for boudin.
The fat and skin gets ground and rendered in a saucepan until the ground pieces are brown and crispy. These get strained out and saved to garnish our boudin and gravy. The liquid fat will be used to confit our duck legs as well as cook our aromatics for the boudin AND make the roux for the gravy.
For the Boudin with Gravy and Cracklin we cook some white rice in the duck stock and sauté diced onion, celery, carrot, and green bell peppers in duck fat until soft and mix it with the rice. To this mixture we add (a little too much) cayenne, granulated garlic, salt, and a little more stock and duck fat for moisture. Then we fold in the picked duck meat and case the warm mixture into links.
For the gravy we cook duck fat and flour together into a dark roux then add the duck stock, dried thyme, granulated garlic, and white pepper. As the gravy thickens we’ll taste it and season it with salt and a little Worcestershire sauce for acidity and color.
The boudin gets smoked until the casing is browned and crispy and it gets served with the gravy and cracklin.
For the Confit Legs we first cure them with the following Duck Cure:
2 TB ground coriander
2 TB mustard powder
2 TB granulated garlic
1/4 C brown sugar
1 TB kosher salt
1/4 tsp pink curing salt
The legs get seasoned lightly and cure overnight, then get washed and cooked in a duck fat confit until they reach about 190F internal. Then the legs get removed from the fat and cooled and will be reheated skin side down on our direct coal smoker to slightly crisp the skin and reheat them. We like to leave the claw foot on the duck legs for presentation but they make a great stock as well.
For the Duck Breast we score the skin and season them heavily with salt and pepper. This preparation is very similar to a reverse-seared steak. The breasts will smoke at around 200–225F until they reach about 110–115F internal temp then they rest briefly before being seared skin-side down on a hot cast iron griddle and sliced to order.
For the Foie Gras we cold smoke the whole lobes below 100F for about an hour and then immediately cool them down. It is very important to not smoke them hotter than 100 degrees or the fatty foie will begin to render and melt. Once cooled, we portion them into about 3–4 oz portions which will sear down to about half that size. Just before searing we season them heavily with salt and sear them in batches only for about 30 seconds per side.
Watch in the coming weeks for our second duck video, a farm tour with Sebastien!