Mulard Duck Hearts Stuffed with Foie Gras in Nests of Tricolored Pasta with Sage Sauce

Jean-Louis Palladin, Fred J. Maroon, Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons - February 19th, 2014

The fourth course from Jean-Louis Palladin's Spring Menu in Jean-Louis: Cooking with the Seasons.

"Pasta is a magic word. Ask one million people, and you will not find five who do not like pasta. When I tried to use it in an original recipe, I came up with duck hearts stuffed with foie gras in nests of tricolored pasta. Duck hearts are an unfamiliar meat to most Americans, but they are superb."

Makes 4 servings

  • Mulard duck hearts stuffed with foie gras (recipe follows)

Sage sauce:

  • 1/4 cup unpeeled carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. celery, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. leeks (mostly white part), chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. unpeeled turnips, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 oz. sage sprigs, plus 12 large sage leaves for infusing sauce
  • 1 cup meat or vegetable consommé
  • 1 cup fond de veau

In a small bowl, combine the carrots, celery, leeks, onions, turnips, shallots, and the 1/2 oz. sage sprigs. Heat a heavy 3 qts. saucepan over high heat for about 1 minute, then add the vegetable mixture. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the consommé and cook until liquid reduces to 1/2 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the fond de veau and continue cooking until liquid has a thin sauce consistency, 10 to 15 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Strain sauce through a chinois, using the bottom of a sturdy ladle to force as much through as possible; it should yield 2/3 to 1 cup. Add the 12 sage leaves to the sauce; refrigerate. (The sauce may be made to this point up to 1 day ahead.)

When ready to serve, reheat sauce, then remove and discard sage leaves.

Pasta noodles:

  • 3 Tbsps. parsley puree
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsps. finely ground semolina flour
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 tsps. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • about 1 cup plus 11 Tbsps. all-purpose flour, plus flour for rolling out dough
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 lg. egg yolk
  • 5 Tbsps. tomato paste

Pasta noodles:

First, make the parsley puree if not already done; set aside. Next, prepare the basic dough for all 3 (yellow, green, and red) pastas as follows: In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, combine the semolina, salt, oil and eggs. Beat at medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute; the dough will still be quite wet and sticky at this point. Flour hands with all-purpose flour and form dough into a ball. Cut the ball into 3 equal portions and wrap 2 of them separately in plastic wrap. Make the remaining portion into yellow pasta dough.

For the yellow dough, break the portion of basic dough into 5 pieces and return them to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add 7 Tbsps. of all-purpose flour and the water and egg yolk. Beat at medium speed until dough forms a soft, supple ball, about 2 minutes; then, if dough is still sticky, beat in about 1 Tbsp. more all purpose flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside.

To make the green pasta dough, break another portion of the basic dough into 5 pieces and place these in the electric mixer bowl. Add 8 Tbsps. all-purpose flour and the parsley puree. Beat at medium speed until dough forms a soft, supple ball and is an even color, about 2 minutes; if needed, beat in about 1 Tbsp. more all-purpose flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside.

For the red pasta dough, break the remaining portion of basic dough into 5 pieces and place in a clean electric mixer bowl. Add 9 Tbsps. all-purpose flour and the tomato paste. Beat at medium speed until dough forms a soft, supple ball and is an even color, about 2 minutes; if needed, beat in about 1 Tbsp. more all-purpose flour. Wrap in plastic wrap.

Let all 3 doughs rest, covered, for about 1 hour before rolling out, then roll out each color of dough and cut into noodles as follows (complete rolling out and cutting noodles of 1 color before proceeding to the next): Unwrap dough and lightly flour it with all-purpose flour. Roll through the pasta machine 10 times on the thickest settling of machine; fold it in half after each rolling. Next, roll dough through once on each setting, this time without folding in half after each rolling, progressing from the very thickest setting to the thinnest; if needed, lightly flour dough so it doesn’t stick and cut into manageable lengths. Once dough has gone through the thinnest setting, cut it into about 1” lengths. With the tagliatelle attachment on the machine, cut lengths into noodles and hang on coat hangers until ready to cook. Repeat with remaining 2 colors of dough. (This may be done a day ahead; store noodles at room temperature still hanging on coat hangers.)

Now prepare the mulard duck hearts stuffed with foie gras up to the point of cooking; refrigerate if prepared ahead.

Finish and serve:

Heat oven to 400˚F. First, cook the duck hearts; set aside.

Now blanch the noodles as follows: If using homemade noodles, combine the water, salt and oil in a large pot; bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the yellow, green, and red noodles and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 minutes (do not cook longer, since the noodles will be sautéed later). Immediately drain and cool in the ice water; the noodles may stay in the water up to 15 minutes before draining and sautéing.

If using commercially made pasta nests, cook them according to package instructions until about 2 minutes short of the al dente stage; cool in ice water as directed above.

Next, reheat the duck hearts as follows: Place the duck hearts (still wrapped in caul) in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet or baking pan with the remaining 2 Tbsps. duck fat and bake uncovered in the preheated oven just until heated through, about 10 minutes. Once done, remove from oven, leaving oven setting at 400˚F; drain on paper towels and set aside.

Meanwhile, sauté the noodles. To do this, drain noodles well. Heat a very large nonstick skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the butter; when melted, add the noodles and season with salt and pepper. Cook to al dente stage, about 2 minutes, tossing constantly. Remove from heat.

Divide noodles into 4 equal portions while still in the skillet. Working with 1 portion at a time, separate the portion into 6 equal parts (for 6 nests per plate), then with tongs transfer each 1/6 to an ovenproof serving plate and swirl into a nest shape. Repeat with remaining 3 portions to form 6 nests per serving plate, then blot around edges of nests with paper towels. Once the heated duck hearts have been drained, place 1 heart (still wrapped in caul) in each nest. Return plates, uncovered, to the 400˚F oven just until all food is heated through, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, reheat sauce; then remove and discard sage leaves and pour into a sauceboat for serving at the table. Serve immediately.

Mulard duck hearts stuffed with foie gras:

Makes 2 dozen stuffed duck hearts

  • 10 oz. fresh uncooked duck or goose foie gras (Grade A or B)
  • 2 doz. mulard duck hearts (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 lbs. pork caul fat (or enough to make 4 dozen 6” squares; see note)
  • 1/4 cup rendered duck fat or pork lard (preferred) or vegetable oil

Note: Caul fat is available from butcher shops. Ask for pieces with few if any holes and ones without extra-large veins of fat running through them; refrigerate, soaking in water, until used.

With a sharp thin-bladed knife, carefully trim away any green spots on the foie gras caused by contact with the gall bladder; set aside. With the duck hearts lying flat, cut a lengthwise slit in each, about 1 1/2” long, to form a packet; the slit should start at the center top of the thicker end and its depth should be about halfway through the heart. Next, cut a wedge of foie gras to fit into each duck heart packet; the height of the wedge (if sitting like a wedge of pie) should be the length of the duck heart pocket (about 1 1/2”), and the wedge’s width at the widest part and its length should be about 1”. Lightly salt and pepper all surfaces of each wedge, then fit it into 1 of the duck heart pockets, gently working the foie gras with your hands to soften it so you can smooth any angles and mold it snugly into place; soften trimmings and work them into the pockets, too.

Now rinse the caul fat well and squeeze dry; cut out 48 (6”) squares that have no holes in them and trim away any very large veins of fat from their edges. Snugly wrap 1 of the caul squares around each heart as you would an envelope, then securely wrap each in a second square. Generously season all surfaces of the packaged hearts with salt and pepper. If not cooking immediately, cover and refrigerate.

To cook the duck hearts, heat 2 Tbsps. of the duck fat in a large nonstick skillet over high heat, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add the caul-wrapped duck hearts to the skillet in a single layer. Cook until the hearts are tender and brown on all sides, about 9 minutes, turning carefully so caul doesn’t unwrap, do not overcook, or the foie gras will lose its unique buttery texture. Remove from heat and transfer hearts to a platter; set aside until time to reheat.

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