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Hu Kwa Cured Duck Magret
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By Executive Chef Jason Bond
of the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro

Hu Kwa is a smoked Chinese tea that
has been a staple in the history of
Beacon Hill for over a century. If you
were invited to tea at a respectable
home, your hosts most likely offered
you Hu Kwa tea and a simple sweet
bread or cake.

The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro, on
the flat of Beacon Hill on Charles Street, is also just across the Boston Common
from Chinatown, which of course has a tradition of smoked duck.

Chef Jason Bond of the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro wanted to create a dish that
emphasized these two traditions. “This recipe combines these two ideas or
traditions in a tea cure for the duck which firms the meat and tenderizes it giving
it a crisp mahogany skin,” said Bond.

Four servings:

4 duck breasts, on the bone (two whole ducks)
2 ounces Hu Kwa tea
2 ounces black peppercorns
2 ounces sugar
1 pound kosher salt

Directions:

Place the tea, pepper, and sugar in a blender and blend to a powder.  Mix with
the salt.  Cover the duck breasts completely with the mixture and wrap tightly in
plastic film.  Let stand for 3 to 4 hours.  

Rinse the breasts and pat dry.  Let dry on a rack until ready to cook.  

To cook, place skin-side down in a dry cast iron pan over low heat.  Let the fat
render slowly.  It should take at least half an hour before the skin starts to color
and turn crisp.  

Once you have a crisp skin, flip over and cook for five minutes more on the other
side.  Let rest for ten minutes and then carve off the bone to serve.  Save the fat
you have collected and decant it, so as to have clear pure fat.  “mmm…”

The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro serves this with pumpkin risotto and porcini
mushrooms.

8 perfect fresh porcini mushrooms
1 Long Island Cheese Pumpkin (you will use about ¼ of it)
¼ pound butter
1 onion
1 cup arborio rice (or other risotto variety)
1 cup dry Riesling
sea salt and a pepper mill
1 cup grated Parmigianino
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup whipped cream (not sweetened)

Trim and halve the porcini.  Save any scrap and add it to your chicken stock.  
Peel and seed the pumpkin.  Cut 1 quart of small dice.  Finely chop the scrap
from this (save the rest of the squash for pie, or soup, or roasting…).  

Finely dice the onion.  Cook the fine pumpkin, onion, and salt and pepper in the
¼ pound of the butter until soft.  Add the rice and cook for a further five minutes,
stirring frequently.

Add the wine and let absorb.  Add the chicken stock a couple ounces at a time,
stirring.  Once the rice is cooked, but with a slight bite left to it, add the
Parmigianino and stir to melt.  

Check the seasoning and let rest two minutes while you carve your duck.  While
the risotto is cooking, Warm ½ cup duck fat in a large cast iron pan.  I use the
ducks’ cooking pan while they are resting.  

Add the porcini and the pumpkin dice and cook until soft and nicely browned.  
Salt and pepper, and add a little chicken stock just to finish.  

To serve, fold the whipped cream into your risotto, just enough to lighten the
texture. You probably won’t use it all.  Spoon the risotto into the center of each
serving plate.  Place your pan-roasted porcini and pumpkin on top.  Slice and fan
one duck breast over all.  Spoon any left over mushroom juice over the ducks.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
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