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one or the other

Today I can’t decide which recipe to post. The one that uses the rest of the duck that I received back on Tuesday of last week. Don’t worry, I’m not just now using the duck – nearly a week later! I’m just getting around to posting it. Or the recipe that uses up the leftover homemade marshmallows from the S’Mores Party…  OK, decision made – I’ll put up the yummy duck recipe today and use the marshmallows tomorrow…

Duck and Butternut Individual Tarts

Tart Shells
1 3/4 cups flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons ice-cold water
Maple Butternut Squash
2 cups (about 12 ounces) small cubes of butternut squash
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
Caramelized Onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Maple Glaze
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups shredded cooked duck meat
1/2 cup cold goat cheese

Tart Shells: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Mix for a few seconds, add the butter pieces, and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add the egg yolks and process for another few seconds.

Slowly add the water through the feed tube with the machine running and process until the dough just begins to come together, do not let it form a ball.

Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the crumbly mixture in the center.

Pull up the corners of the wrap and enclose the dough completely, use the wrap to press and form the dough into a disk.

Chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Dust a work surface with a little flour. Roll out the dough into a 1/4-inch thick round. Use a 5-inch round cutter to cut out 8 circles of dough (I used the lid from my flour jar.) Gently place the dough in eight, 4-inch diameter and 1  1/4-inch deep, tart tins. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of the tins. Line each tart with parchment paper and fill with pie weights, dry beans, or dry rice. Alternately, the tarts may be lightly pricked with a fork. Place tins on a baking sheet.

Blind bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and weights, if using, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and cool. Leave the oven at 375 degrees.

Maple Butternut Squash: Place squash in a small shallow roasting pan and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Toss with olive oil. Roast in the oven until tender, about 20 minutes. Place squash in a food processor along with the butter and maple syrup. Puree until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Caramelized Onions: Melt the butter in a large skillet; add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook for 25-30 minutes or until they brown and caramelize. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside. Also, set aside the skillet, do not wash it.

Glaze: In a small saucepan reduce the maple syrup and black pepper over medium-high heat by about one-third. Add the sherry vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the butter.

Spinach: Add 1 tablespoon of the glaze and 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet that the onions were cooked in. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and add the spinach leaves, season with salt and pepper, and toss until spinach is wilted. Pour the spinach into a strainer, set over a bowl, and let spinach drain. Press on spinach with the back of a spoon to release more liquid. Drop spinach onto a couple of paper towels and squeeze dry. Chop spinach and set aside.

To assemble the tarts: Pour the rest of the glaze over the shredded duck in a medium bowl.

Evenly divide the caramelized onion between the 8 baked tart shells. Spread each with a spoonful of the squash puree, dividing evenly. Sprinkle each tart with the chopped spinach and then divide the glazed duck between the tarts. Sprinkle the top of each tart with crumbled goat cheese. Place tarts on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven until heated through about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 8

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