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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

CRL Recipes Series: Butternut Squash Risotto with Peppered Duck Breast

The Century House's Chef Michael Niccoli offers CRL readers this delicious recipe.

This recipe comes courtesy of The Century House’s Chef Michael Niccoli.

Butternut Squash Risotto, Peppered Duck Breast  with Blackberry BBQ & Jasmine Rice, Brown Sugar and Caramel Stuffed Macintosh Apple with Filo Crisp.

Butternut Squash Risotto
1lb. Arborio rice
1 ea. Butternut squash, diced
1/4 lb. Pancetta, diced
1 ea. Shallot, minced
2 qts. Stock or broth
5 leaves Sage, chopped
2 tblsp. Butter
3 oz. Oil
To taste S&P

Risotto is much more approachable than people think. It is dish that can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Remember to keep it moving (stir). This risotto calls for a little preparation before-hand, but is still a quick meal and worth every minute.

Peel the squash and cut in half from top to bottom. Place the squash in a roasting pan with a pint of stock a tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt. Cook covered in a 350 degree oven for about a half hour or until you can insert a toothpick and remove it with no resistance. Mash the squash by hand or use a food processor.

In a large sauté pan, bring the oil to temp over medium heat. Add pancetta and let that cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Stir in shallot and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Arborio rice. Add a third of the stock, stir and bring to a simmer, stir some more. As the stock cooks off keep adding more, a little at a time. Don’t forget to stir. Continue this process until the rice is cooked to your liking. Stir in the pureed squash and the herbs season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Add your favorite cheese at the end if you wish. Aged provolone works well.

Peppered Duck Breast with Blackberry BBQ and Jasmine Rice

Blackberry BBQ
8 cloves Garlic
8 ea. Shallots
2 c. Apple Cider Vinegar
1 lb. Brown sugar
1 1/2 lb. Frozen blackberries
2 tblsp. Oil

This is a very simple BBQ sauce. You can substitute virtually any berry for the blackberries. Blueberries work nicely.  Start by heating up the oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic. You want to achieve a nice even golden color on the garlic and shallot. This will give the depth of flavor that makes this sauce so good. When the garlic and shallots reach that golden color add in all of the brown sugar. Allow the sugar to cook for 2-3 minutes then add the vinegar. Stir the vinegar in and allow the mixture to simmer for another minute. Add all the blackberries (still frozen), stir, and let it come back to a simmer for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Blend sauce in a blender.

1/4 c. Black Peppercorns
1/4 c. Pink Peppercorns
2 ea. Duck Breast
1 Tblsp. Oil

Ask your butcher to clean the duck breast for you. Have them leave some fat on the skin side. Grind both peppercorns together in a spice grinder or peppermill. Coat the skin side heavily with the mixture. Place them fat side down in a pan with 1 tablespoon of oil. Turn the flame on to low to medium heat and slowly crisp the fat. As it cooks, it will start to melt off and the remaining fat will crisp up. When the skin is crispy, place both ducks in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes to achieve medium rare, cook more if desired. If you would like, add the melted fat leftover from the breasts to the sauce before blending, a little duck fat never hurt anyone. When the breasts are cooked to your liking allow them to rest off the heat before cutting into them.

Jasmine Rice
1 c. Jasmine Rice
2 c. Water
1 tsp. Butter
1 tsp. Salt

Thoroughly rinse the rice under cold water to help prevent it from becoming sticky and wash off any debris.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-sized pot on the stovetop. Once it’s boiling add salt and stir. Add rinsed rice, stir for 10 seconds, and cover tightly.

Fluff the rice with a fork and add butter. A fresh green salad of your choice works well with this dish.

Brown Sugar & Caramel Stuffed Macintosh Apple with Filo Crisp

Filo Crisps
3 Sheets Filo dough
1/4 c. Confectioners sugar
1 stick Butter, melted
2 ea. Cookie sheets

This is a simple concept; however, keep your eye on the prize it can easily burn.

Lay out one sheet of the filo dough at a time. Coat the entire sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Layer the second sheet on top then repeat the butter and sugar steps. Repeat one more time with the third sheet.

Cut the layered filo into desired shapes and place on a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper underneath. After the cookie sheet is full, place another piece of parchment over the filo, then cover with the second cookie sheet. This is called blind baking and is the reason that you need to pay attention. Place the cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. When filo is honey colored, it’s done.

Crumble Stuffing
3 oz. Brown sugar
3 oz. Granulated sugar
6 oz. Butter, cut into small cubes
9 oz. All purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 tsp. Cardamom (optional)
Pinch Salt

The trick to a good crumble is keeping it cold. After you measure out your dry ingredients, even the flour,  place them in the freezer or refrigerator for a bit to ensure that they are going to be nice and cold when you combine them. When all of the ingredients are cold, add them in your mixer with the paddle attachment.  Slowly added cubed butter with mixer on low speed. The end result should be a crumbled mix of different sizes, none bigger than a marble. Refrigerate until needed.

Stuffing the Apples
1 c. Crumble stuffing
5 ea. Macintosh Apples
1 c. Caramel

Remove the core from the apples. Pack half of the hollow center of the apple with crumble stuffing. On top of the crumble, fill a 1/4 of the remaining half with caramel them top off with more crumble topping. When all apples are stuffed bake in a 350 degree oven for  20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the side of the apple and remove it without any resistance.

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