Rice Grits with Braised Duck, Mushroom and Asparagus – Recipe by Chef Bryan Gregg, Escape Montclair

Main Ingredients:
•    Rice grits recipe (see below)
•    Braising stock (see below)
•    4 duck legs
•    ½ tsp. each salt and pepper
•    ¼ pound pearl onions, peeled
•    8 asparagus stalks, woody stem ends removed
•    ½ pound wild mushrooms

Rice Grits Ingredients:
•    3 cups spring or filtered water
•    1/2 Tbsp. fine sea salt
•    1/2 cup Carolina Gold Rice
•    1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
•    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Braising Stock Ingredients:
•    Two carrots, diced
•    Four stalks celery, diced
•    ½ onion, diced
•    4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
•    20 peppercorns
•    ¼ cup tomato paste
•    2 tsp. vegetable oil
•    ½ cup dry red wine
•    1 gallon of water

Rice Grits Directions (Makes 1 1/2 cups cooked rice):

1.    Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.    In a heavy-bottomed 3½-quart saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, stir once, and as soon as the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is just tender with no hard starch at its center, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine-holed footed colander and rinse well with cool water. Shake the colander to drain off excess water.
3.    Distribute the rice evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and allow the rice to dry for about 5 minutes, gently turning the grains from time to time with a spatula. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the pepper and additional salt to taste. Return the baking sheet to the oven and allow the rice to warm through, occasionally turning the grains, until the butter has melted and the rice is hot, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.
Braising Directions:
1.    In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, sauté the carrots, celery, onion, rosemary, peppercorn and tomato paste in 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.
2.    Add the red wine to the pot, scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
3.    Add the water and simmer for an hour – stock will have reduced by about half. Reserve stock for later use.

Duck Legs Directions: 

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    Season the duck legs with the ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
3.    In a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat, cook the duck on each side until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Drain the fat that was rendered, add the reserved stock, cover the skillet with aluminum foil and place in the oven for two hours or until fork tender. Transfer the cooked duck to a plate and allow to cool – pour the duck stock into a container for later use.
4.    Once cooled, pull the duck meat from the bones. Discard the bones.
Plating Directions:
1.    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the pearl onions in a teaspoon of the reserved duck fat for 4 minutes or until tender. Add the asparagus and mushrooms and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
2.    Add the duck stock and simmer over medium heat until the stock is reduces by half, about 10 minutes.
3.    Add the cooked duck to the simmering sauce, stir gently to coat and warm for 2 minutes.
4.    Check the sauce to ensure proper seasoning. Add salt and/or pepper if needed.
5.    Serve with rice grits.
Serves 4.

Escape Information:

Address: 345 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ 07042.
Phone: 973-744-0712
Website: www.escapemontclair.com
Year Founded: 2013
Facebook: www.facebook.com/escapemontclair
Twitter: www.twitter.com/escapemontclair
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Email: escapemontclair@hotmail.com