November 21, 2010: Thanksgiving Food Feast

November 21, 2010 (CHICAGO)

We talked with Chef de Cuisine James Popadopolous, of Sam and Harry's at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center about some very cool, and delicious ideas. To get more info visit

Honey Glazed Duck Breast Brown butter and apple stuffing, chanterelle mushrooms, and poached cranberries

  • Seared Duck (Hudson Valley brand)
  • 4 Duck breast
  • 2 Rosemary, 2 inch sprigs
  • 2 T Butter, un-salted
  • 1 T Organic honey
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Brown Butter, Apple and Sage Stuffing
  • 4 cups Brioche bread, 2 inch dice
  • 1 cup Cream
  • 1 cup Half and Half
  • 1 t Duck/chicken demi glace
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 1/2 t Salt
  • 1 t Black pepper
  • 1 stick Butter, un-salted
  • 5 leafs Sage, fresh
  • 1/2 cup Fuji or Honey Crisp Apples
  • 1/3 cup Fennel, small dice
  • 1/3 cup Onion, small dice
  • 1/3 cup Celery, small dice
  • Wild Mushrooms
  • 2 cup Chanterelle mushrooms, (wiped clean of any dirt or forest debris)
  • 1 T Shallots, finely minced
  • 1 Thyme, 2 inch sprig
  • 1 T Sweet sherry wine
  • Poached Cranberries
  • 1 cup Cranberries, fresh
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick, toasted @ 350 5 minutes until fragrant

For the stuffing:

Sautee fennel, celery, apple, and onion over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until very tender, season lightly with salt. Whisk eggs salt and pepper, and demi glace to incorporate, add cream and half and half. In small sauce pot over medium high heat, add the butter and sage, and cook until browned and has nutty aroma. Pour butter over bread and toss, stir in apples, fennel, celery, and onion. Stir in cream/egg mixture. Set into buttered baking pan and bake @ 325 for 35-45 minutes until set and lightly golden. Increase heat to 350 and bake for 5-10 minutes to brown the top. Serve hot, or cool and cut into desired shapes and bake 350 until warmed through.

For the cranberries:

Combine cranberries, water, orange juice, cinamon and sugar in medium-small sauce pot, bring to simmer and simmer for 25-35 minutes until water reduces by half, the consistency has thickened, cranberries have given up their juices. Remove cinnamon stick;Keep warm or refrigerate until for up to 1 week.

To assemble:

Reheat stuffing @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes until warmed through, heat cranberry sauce over medium low heat until warm.

Remove duck breasts from cooler, using a sharp knife score the fat in a cross pattern 1/2 inch away from one another and no more than 1/8 inch deep. Season the breasts immediately with salt and pepper, and allow to sit at room temp for 20 minutes to take the chill off (this will temper the meat and will help cooking the duck breasts more evenly.) Heat a large nonstick sautee pan over high heat for 1 or 2 minutes to heat, pat the breasts dry of any moisture and place fat side down into the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, flip the breast to the opposite side and cook for another 5 minutes. Add butter, rosemary, and then honey to the pan and baste the duck for 30 seconds to glaze. Right from the pan, The internal temperature of the duck breast should be between 115 for medium rare and 125 for medium to mid well (considering carryover cooking will continue to take place 5-10 degrees as the breast rests). Pull the breasts from the pan and allow to rest on a wire rack for 6 minutes.

While the breast is resting, start mushrooms;

Heat large sautee pan over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and then 2 teaspoons of whole butter then the mushrooms, and thyme sprig. Saute for 3-4 minutes until tender, season lightly with salt, add the shallot and toss for 30 seconds longer, deglaze the pan with the sherry. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, remove thyme sprig and keep warm.

Plate one portion of stuffing on each plate, spoon a spoonful of mushrooms next to stuffing, slice duck breast if desired and fan ontop of mushrooms and stuffing, garnish with a spoon full of cranberry, and the light green leafs from the hearts of celery are packed with flavor and make a vibrant, optional garnish.

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