The Chefs' Table Series TV Show

Chiara Bistro Executive Chef Steve LaCount Cooks Butternut Risotto with Duck Confit, Walnuts & Orange Soaked Dates

Steve LaCount, host of the Chef’s Tip of the week on The Chefs’ Table Series, is our featured chef this week. He shows the audience at Mother Brook Arts & Community Center in Dedham, MA how to make Butternut Risotto with Duck Confit, Walnuts and Orange Soaked Dates.  Scroll below for the recipe.

Chiara Bistro Executive Chef Steve LaCount Cooks Butternut Risotto with Duck Confit, Walnuts & Orange Soaked Dates

Miguel Escobar, GM and wine sommelier of One Bistro located in Norwood, MA. explains to co-host Carol O’Connor why he paired the butternut risotto dish with Oregon Ponzi Vineyard’s Pinot Gris of the Willamette Valley.

Steve LaCount shares this week’s chef tip on how to mince a Spanish onion – quickly!

Carol visits Chef Steve LaCount at Chiara Bistro in Westwood, MA and finds out how he got involved in the culinary arts, how Chiara Bistro came about, the cuisine and dishes featured at the bistro and his top three ingredients.

Butternut Risotto with Duck Confit, Walnuts and Orange Soaked Dates

Serving Size: 4

For the Duck Confit

4 each duck legs
vegetable oil or duck fat — enough to cover the legs

For the Risotto
1 1/2           cups  Arborio rice
6               cups  chicken stock
1/2          each  onion — minced
3             ounces  butter
1                cup  butternut squash — cooked and pureed
1/2           cup  heavy cream
salt & pepper

 For the garnishes
1         cup  butternut squash — 1/2″cubes, cooked al dente
1         tablespoon  brown sugar
1         tablespoon  cider vinegar
1/3     cup  walnuts — toasted
1/3     cup  dates — sliced and soaked in the OJ
1/3     cup  OJ

To confit the duck: (can be done a few days in advance)

  • Place the legs in a heavy casserole or oven proof deep dish – season with salt
  • Add the garlic heads, thyme, sage, bay leaf, peppercorns, star anise and cinnamon stick
  • Cover the legs with vegetable oil or duck fat or a combination of the two
  • Cover casserole with foil and bake in a 275 degree oven for approx 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is tender enough to almost fall off the bone
  • Remove from the fat with a slotted spoon, pat dry, remove skin, flake off the meat in large chunks, hold for finished dish

For the garnishes

  • Toast whole shelled walnuts in the oven until the oils start to exude and they turn a deep golden brown
  • Salt them while still warm and cool to room temperature. Crack the walnuts into large random pieces
  • For the butternut squash, take the top half of the squash, peel and dice into 1/2″-3″4″ uniform pieces
  • Blanch the squash pieces for a few minutes in boiling salted water then strain
  • In a saute pan melt a bit of butter and add the brown sugar – cook until the sugar begins to breakdown and dissolve
  • Add the squash pieces, season with salt & pepper, then add the cider vinegar
  • Cook until the squash is tender and has a candied, glossy appearance
  • For the dates – slice the dried dates into rings and soften them in the orange juice over medium high heat
  • Let them sit in the warm OJ until ready for service

For the risotto

  • Melt the butter in a shallow, wide pan, then add the minced onion – cook until translucent
  • Add the arborio rice and stir gently with a wooden spoon
  • Add 1/4 of the chicken stock and let it slowly simmer into the rice
  • Keep repeating this step until all of the stock is used – at this point test – the rice should be slightly al dente but almost done

Add the butternut puree and the cream – at this point season with salt, pepper, and more butter if needed

Add the duck confit meat to warm it as well as the dates

Spoon into bowls and top with toasted walnuts, warmed candied butternut squash, and sliced flat leaf parsley if desired

Serve immediately!

NOTES : 1. In many stores today cooked duck legs confit may already be available if you want to skip the confit leg cooking part of the recipe

2.  For even more flavor substitute duck stock for chicken stock if you have
roasted duck bones available

3. IMPORTANT! Risotto is a very “by feel” style of dish. The quantities of the stock may be less or more depending on the rice. It is important to cook it slowly and let the rice absorb most of the stock but there needs to be enough remaining (along with the cream) to make the final dish creamy. If rice is undercooked it is not desirable, and if overcooked it will be mushy. Important to serve at peak doneness.

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