Prickly Pear Sofrito, Polenta & Spiced Duck Rillette
Hey everyone I hope you enjoyed the previous read. Let's get to cooking this yummy dish.
4 Prickly Pear
1/2 Red Onions/ 4 Shallots
1/2 Fennel Bulb
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
1 Tbsp. Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp. Cumin seeds
1 Tbsp. Celery Seeds
1 Bunch Thyme
3 heads Garlic
600 ml Chicken Stock
200 ml Milk
250 G Semolina
50 G Butter
1/4 Cup Parmesan
Toast spices until aromatic, cool then blend to a powder. Mix with some grapeseed oil to help make mixture spreadable. Take a small knife and poke the duck a few times, season with salt and pepper, then spread the rub inside and around the duck. This will ensure the seasoning will really get into the duck and not just the skin. Take the thyme and stuff the insides of the duck with it. Leave the heads of garlic whole in the pan. Turn on your oven to 275 F, once the oven is up to temp, you can put the duck in the oven for four hours.
Finely dice your Shallots/Onions & Fennel. On a low heat, combine oil, pine nuts, fennel and onions and let cook until golden brown. This will take about an hour. While that is going, peel your prickly pear with a knife, cutting the base flat, then letting it stand and run the knife down the sides to remove the skin. Try and stay as close to the skin as possible without cutting off too much flesh. Cut into medium dice pieces, reserve. After one hour, add your prickly pear and let it go for another two hours. We are trying to attain a jammy consistency. Season it towards the end with a little salt. Reason being is you don't want to extract too much water from the vegetables in the beginning with the salt. Once it's finished, give it a blitz in a food processor or blender until it's a puree, reserve.
Pour milk and stock in a medium sized pot and bring to a simmer. Get a whisk ready. once the mixture is simmering, pour in semolina(fine corn flour), whisking simultaneously. You don't want any lumps to form so whisk for at least 3 minutes. Once the mixture is combined and smooth, use a wooden flat spoon or paddle to continue stirring. Season with salt( keep in mind you are going to be adding parmesan to the mix in the end). The goal, like I mentioned just now, is to prevent lumps from happening, constantly stirring is very important. The mixture should be done within 20 minutes of cooking. Taste it with your front teeth (they are the most sensitive when it comes to knowing when grains are cooked) It's supposed to be just past al dente. Once it's cooked, add butter and parmesan, season with salt if needed. Pour mixture into a parchment lined sheet pan. Leave to cool, refrigerate when cooled down.
The Duck! hope you didn't forget it. Once it's cooked, drain the fat and jus into a container. Flake the duck down to a rillette. Make sure there aren't any bones or gristle in the mix. Also, try not to get too much skin in the mixture. Add a small amount of the jus into the mix, this will help make it paste like. Refrigerate in the container you plan on serving it in.
When you are ready to use the polenta, cut into the desired shape and fry in a small non-stick pan until evenly crispy and brown. Quenelle (oval shape) the prickly pear sofrito onto a plate. Serve up the duck with the polenta and sofrito. Have a glass of white wine, have a nice snack and relax.
Enjoy the weekend everyone! Keep cooking, keep tasting and remember food is life.