Heartland Duck Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts Pain Perdu with Bourbon Leek Beurre Blanc

Heartland duck roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts pain perdu

Finalist 2017 Chef Recipe Contest, Chef Michael Watz, Watz Your Culinary Professor, Evanston, IL


  • 1

    1 Tbsp Kosher Salt

  • 2

    1 tsp Black Pepper, ground

  • 3

    2 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped

  • 4

    1 tsp Juniper Berries, crushed

  • 5

    1 tsp Smoked Paprika

  • 6

    6 each Maple Leaf Farms Duck Legs

  • 7

    4 cups Butternut Squash, peeled, medium dice

  • 8

    1 1/2 cups Brussels Sprouts, trimmed cut into quarters

  • 9

    2 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 10

    2 tsp Smoked Salt, divided use

  • 11

    1 tsp Cumin, ground, divided use

  • 12

    1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

  • 13

    1/2 cup Butter

  • 14

    1 cup Leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced

  • 15

    1 tsp Garlic, finely chopped

  • 16

    6 Eggs, lightly beaten

  • 17

    2 cups Heavy Cream

  • 18

    1 cup Milk

  • 19

    1/4 tsp Nutmeg, ground

  • 20

    2 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped

  • 21

    5 cups Brioche Bread, stale, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 22

    1 cup Gruyere Cheese, freshly shredded, divided use

  • 23

    1 cup Parmesan Cheese, freshly shredded, divided use

  • 24

    2 cups Roasted Garlic Spinach (see recipe below)

  • 25

    1 1/4 cups Bourbon Leek Beurre Blanc (see recipe below)

  • 26

    1/2 cup Melted Leeks (see recipe below)

  • 27

    8 cloves Whole Garlic, peeled

  • 28

    3 Tbsp Olive Oil, divided use

  • 29

    1 Tbsp Butter

  • 30

    1 lb Spinach, stems trimmed

  • 31

    1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

  • 32

    1/4 tsp Black Pepper, ground

  • 33

    1 Tbsp Butter

  • 34

    1 Tbsp Leeks, white portion only, small dice

  • 35

    1 Tbsp Fresh Shallots, minced

  • 36

    1 tsp Fresh Garlic, finely chopped

  • 37

    1 tsp Black Peppercorns

  • 38

    2/3 cup Dry Vermouth

  • 39

    1/2 cup Aged Bourbon

  • 40

    2 Tbsp Lemon Juice

  • 41

    1 cup Heavy Cream

  • 42

    8 oz Butter, cut into small chunks

  • 43

    2 Tbsp Butter

  • 44

    1 Tbsp Olive Oil

  • 45

    2 1/2 cups Leeks, white portion only, 1/4-inch dice

  • 46

    1 tsp Fresh Garlic, finely chopped

  • 47

    1/4 cup Dry Vermouth

  • 48

    1 tsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped

  • 49

    1 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped

  • 50

    1/4 tsp Kosher Salt

  • 51

    1/4 tsp White Pepper, ground

  • 52

    1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

  • 53

    1 cup Heavy Cream


Pain Perdu

  • 1

    In a mixing bowl, combine the Kosher salt, black pepper, thyme, juniper berries and smoked paprika. Generously season the duck legs and thighs with the spice blend. Arrange the duck legs skin-side up in a single layer in a roasting pan. Cover the pan tightly with 2 layers of aluminum foil.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • 3

    Place the roasting pan into the oven and roast for 2-2 1/2 hours or until the duck legs are fully cooked.

  • 4

    Remove the roasting pan from the oven and allow the duck legs to completely cool; refrigerate overnight, if possible.

  • 5

    The following day, remove the duck legs from the roasting pan; discard the skin and bones from each duck. Coarsely hand-pull the duck meat into medium-sized pieces and reserve.

  • 6

    Lightly spray a baking tray with nonstick vegetable cooking oil; place both the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts onto the baking tray; drizzle with olive oil and season with HALF of the smoked salt and cumin. Toss the vegetables to evenly coat with the olive oil.

  • 7

    Place the baking tray into a 400 degree F oven and roast the vegetables for approximately 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Drizzle the maple syrup over the vegetables; gently toss with the maple syrup and continue to roast an additional 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and slightly cool.

  • 8

    In a large skillet, melt the butter using medium heat. To the skillet, add the leeks and garlic; gently stir, cooking for approximately 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and sauté for an additional 10 minutes. Season the leek mixture with the remaining smoked salt and cumin. Remove from the heat to cool.

  • 9

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, heavy cream, milk, nutmeg and rosemary, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the duck, sautéed leeks, roasted vegetables, brioche bread and half the quantity of shredded Gruyere and parmesan cheeses. Allow the mixture to rest for at least 15 minutes.

  • 10

    Coat a 9 x 12 inch baking pan with nonstick vegetable cooking oil. Pour the brioche bread mixture into the pan. Evenly top the Pain Perdu with the remaining Gruyere and parmesan cheeses. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 45-55 minutes or until fully baked and the top is golden brown and bubbly.

Roasted Garlic Spinach

  • 1

    Place the garlic in the center of a sheet of aluminum foil; drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Tightly seal the foil, place the packet onto a baking pan. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until the garlic is fully softened.

  • 2

    Heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet using medium high heat; add the spinach to the skillet with the garlic and the olive oil from the packet. Season with Kosher salt and black pepper, sauté the spinach for approximately 2 minutes or until just wilted. Serve Immediately.

Bourbon Leek Beurre Blanc

  • 1

    In a saucepan, place the butter, leeks, shallots, garlic and black peppercorns. Sauté over medium heat until the vegetables are softened; cooking for approximately 1 1/2 minutes.

  • 2

    To the saucepan, add the dry vermouth, bourbon and lemon juice; slowly cook until the liquid has been reduced to 1/3 cup.

  • 3

    Strain the sauce using a fine chinois or cheesecloth to remove the aromatics. Place the liquid into a clean saucepan.

  • 4

    Add the heavy cream to the reduced liquid and simmer until the liquid has been reduced to 1/2 cup. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time to allow the sauce to emulsify. Store the Bourbon Leek Beurre Blanc in a warm area until ready to use. Adjust seasonings if needed.

Melted Leeks

  • 1

    In a large saucepot, heat the butter and olive oil using medium heat; add the leeks and garlic. Sauté the vegetables until the leeks are very soft, cooking approximately 7-8 minutes.

  • 2

    Add the dry vermouth and fresh herbs; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the liquid has thickened to a syrupy consistency.

  • 3

    Add the heavy cream and Dijon mustard; cook until the sauce has thickened to a medium consistency. Reserve in a warm area.

To Serve

  • 1

    Using a large round cutter, portion the Duck Pain Perdu into 8-10 portions.

  • 2

    In the center of 4 heated, decorative serving platters arrange approximately 1/2 cup of the Roasted Garlic Spinach. On top of the spinach, place a portion of the Duck Pain Perdu.

  • 3

    Generously pour the Bourbon Leek Beurre Blanc over each portion of Duck Pain Perdu. Lightly garnish the top of each serving with 1 tablespoon of Melted Leeks.


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