By David Page, Chef and Co-Owner Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse
My wife Barbara and I first met Richard Olsen-Harbich, currently the winemaker at Raphael, in the early 1990s when we were visiting Jamesport Vineyards to taste his wines for inclusion on our former restaurant Home’s wine list.
Not everyone knows that Rich spent several years at Jamesport Vineyards working as the winemaker before moving over to Raphael where he has been ever since. His career in winemaking began a decade before we met him and he was really hitting his stride at Jamesport, so we were happy to see him take the great opportunity at Raphael.
Rich was the first winemaker on Long Island to invite us into his cellar to taste wines from barrel with him. In 1993 he encouraged us to make our first private label red wine for our restaurant, and better yet, offered us the chance to create our own custom blend.
We have Rich to thank for some of the inspiration that resulted in us taking the plunge and starting our own vineyard and winery over 10 years ago. We have held onto a few of those early bottles, and store them in our wine library as a way to remember those good old days.
When Lenn asked me to create a recipe that would be paired with Raphael’s 2002 First Label Merlot I jumped at the thought of getting down on paper a duck and red wine recipe I have been thinking about for a long time.
Ducq au Vin is my tongue-in-cheek variation of the classic French Coq au Vin. I hope you find this recipe as delicious as I find the name amusing. Serve it alongside a puree of potatoes and fennel and a quick saute of arugula and have some good old days of your own.
For the marinade:
4 Long Island Duck Legs
2 cups red wine
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves crushed
10 black peppercorns
Combine all of the ingredients, mix well, cover and refrigerate for 24 – 48 hours.
For the braise:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup quartered brown mushrooms
1/2 cup pearl onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
Remove the duck legs from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the marinade. Score the skin as a way to help render the fat. Season with salt and pepper. Place the duck legs skin side down in a preheated skillet with the vegetable oil. Slowly render the fat and crisp the skin. About 10 minutes. Spoon off the fat as it renders and reserve for another purpose. When duck is well browned on both sides add the marinade to the skillet, bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the preheated oven for 2 hours until the duck is tender.
Remove the duck legs to a platter. Strain the marinade, discard the vegetables and return liquid to the stove. Add one cup of dark poultry stock and one tablespoon of tomato paste and whisk together. Reduce by one half or until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the onions and mushrooms and simmer until vegetables are tender. Whisk in the butter off the heat. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Reheat the duck legs under a preheated broiler until the skin is crackling crisp. Serve with the finished sauce and garnished with the rosemary.