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"Mac and Cheese" with Duck Confit

“Mac and Cheese” with Duck Confit, Maitake Mushrooms and Pea Sprouts 

Wine: pair with Reata Pinot Noir
Yield: 4 portions

Ingredients

For the macaroni

2 pints elbow macaroni
1 quart heavy cream
4 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
Salt/pepper to taste

For the duck confit

2 duck legs
1 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp five spice powder
½ qt. rendered duck fat

For the garnish

2 heads maitake mushrooms, cleaned
1 tbsp olive oil
2 oz. pea sprouts
½ cup petit Basque cheese, finely grated
½ tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
1 tbsp chervil, finely chopped

Instructions

For the duck confit

• Mix salt and spices well. Coat duck legs on all sides. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
• Rinse off salt under cold water, set aside to dry with paper towels.
• In sauté pan over medium heat, place duck legs skin side down and render off fat until skin is crispy and golden brown
• Place legs in a small baking dish and cover with duck fat.
• Heat legs in a 180-degree oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the meat, is completely soft until to fall from the bone
• Once cooked, remove legs from fat, let cool and separate the legs meat from the bones and cartilage, reserving just the meat.
• Roughly chop the meat and skin. Set aside.

For the macaroni

• Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil with a pinch of salt.
• Add pasta and cook until desired consistency, approximately 10 minutes.
• In a separate pot, gently sauté the shallots and thyme over low to medium heat until soft.
• Add heavy cream, bring to boil, then simmer.
• Add grated gruyere cheese until incorporated.
• Carefully pour mixture into a blender and blend on high until completely smooth.

For the garnish

• Heat the olive oil in sauté pan over medium heat.
• Add maitakes to the pan and cook well until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes
• Roughly chop the sprouts and reserve along with the herbs and grated cheese

Assemble

• Heat pasta and sauté in a pan over medium heat
• Once hot, add the chopped duck meat, maitake mushrooms, and grated cheese
• To finish, fold in the herbs and top with pea sprouts

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