The James Beard Project: Coming full circle this week

This week marks the return of the James Beard Project, and to start with, we’re bringing back the same slate of dishes we featured in Week 1. That means if you missed any of these great dishes the first time around, you have another chance to enjoy them!

Monday, Jan. 11 — Noodles with Cabbage
Sautéed Medallions of Pork Tenderloin with a French Grainy Mustard and Horseradish Cream Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 88)

Tuesday, Jan. 12 — Coq au Riesling
Braised Chicken in Riesling Wine Sauce (Beard on Pasta, p. 116)

Wednesday, Jan. 13 — Walnut-Breaded Filet of Sole With Lemon Aioli, Grape Tomato Salad and Roasted Baby Redskin Potatoes (The New James Beard, p. 199)

Thursday, Jan. 14 — Roast Duck with Cherries and Wild Rice (The New James Beard, p. 338)

Friday, Jan. 15 — Ossi Buchi with Orzo
Braised Veal Shanks with Orzo (Beard on Pasta, p. 140)

Saturday, Jan. 16 — Lamb Shanks with Beans (The New James Beard, p. 399)

Behind the Dish: Roast Duck with Peaches and Bourbon

James Beard’s Roast Duck with Peaches and Bourbon is definitely not an everyday kind of dish. For each serving, we’re roasting up a half duck, nice and crispy, and glazing it with a sauce made of brown sugar, a splash of Madeira, bourbon and peach halves. We’re enhancing that basic recipe with a touch of apricot preserves and ginger. The duck is served with an accompaniment of long grain and wild rice and root vegetables. Get ready for a unique and flavorful experience!

It’s just ducky

Our roast duck came out just the way we wanted: with a nice, brown crispy skin that releases just a bit of the juiciness of the meat inside even as you slice in. We ended up adding shiitake mushrooms to the porcinis to create an even richer mushroom flavor in the demi-glace. This was not a sweet treatment of duck but a very savory, herby one, and the deep flavors of the herbs were in every bite. We think the buttery sautéed green beans and the wild rice were just right for it. What did you think? If you had the duck tonight, we’d love to know.

Wedding Bells Are Ringing!

As we mentioned in an earlier post, it’s a time of celebration in the Levine household — our son Ari is getting married tomorrow. We’ve been very busy preparing the feast for his wedding, which we’ll tell you a bit about later. After the wedding, we’re actually joining Ari and his bride on a family honeymoon! It will be only a few days long, but should be plenty of fun.

Which romantic hotspot are we visiting? Vegas? Disney World? Bermuda? Surprise: we’re headed for Rochester, New York! Yes, it’s a little unusual, but that’s where we’ll be. Watch this space for more information on our trip.

The good news for our wonderful patrons is that we are not closing the Bistro during our absence. Chef Todd will take over in preparing all the Julia Project dishes for the rest of the week. So stay with us, and stop on by to keep sampling great cuisine Julia Child-style, and keep watching this space for news from our travels.

Behind the Dish: Fireplace-Roasted 1⁄2 Duck with Sautéed Porcini Mushroom and Veal Demi-Glace with Wild Rice and Sautéed Haricots Verts

OK, we have a confession to make…our Fireplace-Roasted Duck isn’t really going to be roasted in a fireplace. We don’t have a fireplace at the Bistro. But our duck will be roasted in an oven, which should provide it with the same crispy skin and locked-in juices as roasting it in a fireplace.

The Julia Recipe for today comes from master chef Jean-Louis Palladin (you can watch a video of it being prepared at the link here), and it calls for the duck to be served with wild porcini mushrooms. We’re going to use the dried, reconstituted form of porcinis, and cook them in duck fat, rather than the foie gras fat called for in the original recipe. Our primary seasonings are garlic, thyme and black pepper. We’ll also enrich the flavor of the mushrooms with the addition of the veal demi-glace. Ultimately, the cooking juices of the roast duck and the liquid from the porcinis will combine to make a wonderful sauce for the duck. With wild rice and haricots verts on the side to complement, it’s the perfect kind of dish to help you get ready for fall — and given what a dull-looking day today has turned out to be, that should be a good thing!